In the tradition of "Cod" and "Olives," here is a fascinating
journey into the hidden history, culture, and commerce of caviar.
Once merely a substitute for meat during religious fasts, today
caviar is an icon of luxury and wealth. In "Caviar," Inga Saffron
tells, for the first time, the story of how the virgin eggs of the
prehistoric-looking, bottom-feeding sturgeon were transformed from
a humble peasant food into a czar's delicacy--and ultimately a
coveted status symbol for a rising middle class. She explores how
the glistening black eggs became the epitome of culinary
extravagance, while taking us on a revealing excursion into the
murky world of caviar on the banks of the Volga River and Caspian
Sea in Russia, the Elbe in Europe, and the Hudson and Delaware
Rivers in the United States. At the same time, Saffron describes
the complex industry caviar has spawned, illustrating the
unfortunate consequences of mass marketing such a rare commodity.
The story of caviar has long been one of conflict, crisis,
extravagant claims, and colorful characters, such as the Greek sea
captain who first discovered the secret method of 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 sophisticated cartel to market
caviar to an affluent Western clientele, the dirt-poor poachers who
eked out a living from sturgeon in the aftermath of the Soviet
collapse and the "caviar Mafia" that has risen in their wake, and
the committed scientists who sacrificed their careers. "Here's
whatever is worth knowing about Romanoff and Petrossian and the
remarkable history of beluga, osetra, or sevruga eggs, all in this
one basket, served with much style." "KIRKUS REVIEWS" "To give the
caviar trade a human face, Saffron offers portraits of both
historical and contemporary Russian, Greek, and German
personalities who have dedicated their lives to expanding the
market for this regal roe." MARK KNOBLAUCH, "BOOKLIST" "Caviar
started out as pig slop...how this same gunk was transformed into a
delicacy is...fascinating." "FORBES" MAGAZINE "This is a dandy
book." RICHARD LOURIE, "NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW" " Saffron] does
a delightful job relating caviar's unlikely transformation from
peasant fare to aristocratic delicacy to bourgeois status symbol."
"THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER" "In her sharp-eyed, informative and
briskly written book "Caviar," Saffron examines the natural,
economic, and gastronomical history of the sturgeon and its eggs."
"LOS-ANGELES TIMES" "An enchanting book on a deliciously mysterious
subject." "BALTIMORE SUN" "Written with an elegance befitting the
subject, "Caviar" is a fascinating work of culinary and
environmental history." "USA TODAY" "Saffron writes with color and
flair." "THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR" "Fascinating...
affecting... Part natural history, part culinary h
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