Caviar: The Strange History and Uncertain Future of the by Inga Saffron

By Inga Saffron

In the culture of Cod and Olives: a desirable trip into the hidden historical past, tradition, and trade of caviar.

Once purely an alternative choice to meat in the course of spiritual fasts, this day caviar is an icon of luxurious and wealth. In Caviar, Inga Saffron tells, for the 1st time, the tale of the way the virgin eggs of the prehistoric-looking, bottom-feeding sturgeon have been reworked from a humble peasant nutrients right into a czar’s delicacy–and finally a coveted prestige image for a emerging heart type. She explores how the glistening black eggs grew to become the epitome of culinary extravagance, whereas taking us on a revealing day trip into the murky global of caviar at the banks of the Volga River and Caspian Sea in Russia, the Elbe in Europe, and the Hudson and Delaware Rivers within the usa. whilst, Saffron describes the complicated caviar has spawned, illustrating the unlucky effects of mass advertising and marketing this kind of infrequent commodity.

The tale of caviar has lengthy been one in all clash, situation, extravagant claims, and colourful characters, similar to the Greek sea captain who first stumbled on the key approach to transporting the perishable delicacy to Europe, the canny German businessmen who encountered a wealth of untapped sturgeon in American waters, the Russian Communists who created a worldly cartel to industry caviar to an prosperous Western clients, the dirt-poor poachers who eked out a residing from sturgeon within the aftermath of the Soviet cave in and the “caviar Mafia” that has risen of their wake, and the dedicated scientists who sacrificed their careers to maintain caviar on our tables.
Filled with lore and intrigue, Caviar is an enthralling paintings of culinary, common, and cultural history.


Fascinating....affecting...Part usual historical past, half culinary history....a smooth parable approximately greed and loss...Saffron has performed a nimble activity of dramatizing it within the so much shiny of phrases, leaving the reader with a realizing of ways the destiny of a fish has been decided by means of the vicissitudes of politics and company, by way of technological advances and transferring cultural appetites.
-- Michiko Kakutani, long island Times

Inga Saffron is a journalist who is familiar with the right way to inform a story... [her] e-book that tracks the destiny of those interesting eggs from peasant fare to the final word luxurious, from the Black Sea to San Francisco, from abundance to near-extinction. alongside the best way, she introduces scenes and characters with a journalist's ardour for detail.
-- Washington Post

About the Author

Covering overseas affairs and family tradition, Inga Saffron has been a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for fifteen years and served because the newspaper’s Moscow correspondent from 1994 via 1998. at the moment the Inquirer’s structure critic, she lives in Philadelphia.

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Poachers, who may check their snast lines only every couple of days, are notorious for carving up the dead sturgeon they find floating on their hooks. The enzymes may merely give the caviar a mushy taste, or they can also make the eater very sick. So exacting is the process of making caviar that it is a specialized profession in Russia. After the fish is landed, a skilled ikryanchik—a caviar master—drags the fish to a shady spot. It could be under the nearest tree or a more sanitary processing plant.

They didn’t want their catch swimming out the top. As the circle grew smaller, we could see silvery fish trapped inside. The net had trapped everything in its path—pike, carp, herring, sterlet, as well as sturgeon. Venyamin cared only about one thing. ” he called to the fishermen. “Not one,” the foreman Nikolai answered officiously. “I see a stellate,” insisted Venyamin. The net was twenty feet away, a tangled mass of wildly flapping fish. “And a Russian sturgeon with caviar,” he added. With a final heave, the men bunched the net into a tight wad.

Left to themselves, sturgeon might very well continue happily in their inefficient ways. ” Unlike salmon, which die at the end of an exhausting migration, sturgeon live to spawn again. A beluga can produce eggs every seven years; other sturgeon may swell as frequently as every two years. As compensation for its inefficient habits, nature gives a sturgeon as How to Catch a Sturgeon 37 many as ten chances to reproduce over its long life. Since it only needs to generate two adult offspring during its lifetime to keep the population stable, the odds for the next generation are reasonably good as long as the sturgeon keeps traveling upriver every few years.

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