Oysters and the Big Apple

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Romans served them at orgies. Cassanova ate fifty before breakfast. You may love them or hate them.

New York built a city on the briny bivalve — the oyster. At one time, biologists reckoned half the oysters in the world grew in the estuary waters of New York Harbor. The rich ate them; the poor ate them — all the oysters you could swallow for six cents. There were more oyster stands than hot dog stands today.

Mark Kurlansky has written big histories of Salt and the Cod. Now, he's all about the Big Oyster, and the slippery, succulent delicacy on the half-shell that may be the closest thing to eating the sea itself.

Hear about the history of the half shell, and a love song to a humble obsession, the oyster.


Mark Kurlansky, author of "The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell."

Chris Schlesinger, owner and chef of The East Coast Grill.

Andy Wilner, Executive Director of NY/NJ Baykeeper.

This program aired on May 29, 2006.


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