Just in time for Valentine’s Day, award-winning food critic Robb Walsh rolls out a thorough history of oysters. You could say he’s more than just a casual fan — he eats them every morning in a a scrambled-egg dish called Hangtown Fry. Every morning! I love oysters, but they aren’t on my mind when I wake up. Going to bed is another matter, nyuk nyuk. Anyway, Walsh’s Sex, Death & Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover’s World Tour is an exhaustive but pleasurable take on five-year global trek in the name of oyster research, from plump Blue Points to briny Chincoteagues. From Texas to London to New York’s Grand Central Oyster Bar, Walsh wrings out a definitive primer on the subject while dispelling myths and offering recipes and valuable shucking tips. Plus there’s a whole lot of advice, like what drinks pair well with particular oysters.
Recently, Walsh was asked which combination of oysters and booze did he find most luxurious, most soul-satisfying. “Oysters on the half shell and a gin martini, stirred not shaken, is a London oyster-bar favorite,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “As a martini lover, I find that pairing hard to beat. In Ireland, oysters and Guinness with Irish brown bread is an ancient combination that tastes fabulous for lunch. At home, for breakfast, I like a cup of coffee with oysters cooked with scrambled eggs and bacon.” And if you really, really like the briny suckers, check out Walsh’s oyster porn.