To make the history of a fish interesting, invigorating and moving is an almost impossible feat that Mark Kurlansky accomplishes fantastically well in this compact, learned, beautifully written gem of a book. Cod traces humankind's involvement with what was once one of the world's most plentiful foodstuffs. The Basque people, who Kurlansky suggests found America before Columbus, could only fish and forage (for whale meat) as far as they did because of the huge schools of cod they found, caught and salted as they went. Centuries before this Vikings had travelled from Norway across to Canada-the exact range of the Atlantic cod. Interspersed with old and forgotten recipes Cod becomes a fitting requiem to a fish no-one believed would ever become scarce nor become such a telling metaphor for our careless treatment of the sea, its bounty and our wider environment.
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