287 pages, colour photos, b/w line drawings, tables
Until recently, seaweed for most Americans was nothing but a nuisance, clinging to us as we swim in the ocean and stinking up the beach as it rots in the sun. With the ever-growing popularity of sushi restaurants across the country, however, seaweed is becoming a substantial part of our total food intake. And even as we dine with delight on maki, miso soup, and seaweed salads, very few of us have any idea of the nutritional value of seaweed. Here celebrated scientist Ole G. Mouritsen, drawing on his fascination with and enthusiasm for Japanese cuisine, champions seaweed as a staple food while simultaneously explaining its biology, ecology, cultural history, and gastronomy.
Mouritsen takes readers on a comprehensive tour of seaweed, describing what seaweeds actually are (algae, not plants) and how people of different cultures have utilized them since prehistoric times for a whole array of purposes – as food and fodder, for the production of salt, in medicine and cosmetics, as fertilizer, in construction, and for a number of industrial end uses, to name just a few. He reveals the vast abundance of minerals, trace elements, proteins, vitamins, dietary fiber, and precious polyunsaturated fatty acids found in seaweeds, and provides instructions and recipes on how to prepare a variety of dishes that incorporate raw and processed seaweeds. Approaching the subject from not only a gastronomic but also a scientific point of view, Mouritsen sets out to examine the past and present uses of this sustainable resource, keeping in mind how it could be exploited for the future. He argues that because seaweeds can be cultivated in large quantities in the ocean in highly sustainable ways, they are ideal for battling hunger and obesity alike.
Adapted from the original Danish edition published in 2009.
With hundreds of delectable illustrations depicting the wealth of species, colors, and shapes of seaweed, Seaweeds: Edible, Available, & Sustainable makes a strong case for granting these "vegetables from the sea" a prominent place in our kitchens.
“A well-written presentation for the general reader of an underused resource, this volume fills a niche among seaweed cookbooks such as J. Gusman’s Vegetables from the Sea, specialized scientific treatises (C. Wiencke’s Seaweed Biology), and field guides to the seaweed of specific locales.”
– Library Journal
"Seaweeds is not quite an academic book, not quite a field guide, and not quite a cookbook – it's the best of all worlds."
"[A] beautifully illustrated guide for the non-specialist to the immense nutritional, medicinal, industrial and environmental properties of seaweed. A passionate evangelist – and self-confessed obsessive – Mouritsen has travelled the world in his search for the 'seaweed people' who make their lives out of this astonishing stuff."
"A very approachable and rather enjoyable read [...] As you look at the photos, it's hard to deny the surprising physical beauty to all the edible marine algae. And you'll marvel at the tasting notes Mouritsen provides. Of course, for food lovers interested in actually preparing seaweeds, Mouritsen shares with readers a number of recipes, including Miso, St. Patrick's Cabbage Soup (using carrageen), Guacamole with Dried Seaweeds, and Seaweed Pesto. There's a lot to admire about Seaweeds, and much that it has to offer."
"Seaweeds is an excellent book, deserving the serious attention of marine resource managers – and certainly also, that of the more adventurous seaside cook."
– Richard Shelton, Times Literary Supplement
"[Mouritsen's] immense knowledge and enthusiasm are [...] imparted in a series of fascinating chapters that encompass biology, cultural history, ecology, medicine, and cookery [...] [T]his beautifully produced book explains the industrial, health, and culinary properties of seaweeds."
– Mary Miers, Country Life
"[T]he photos are ethereal."
– Shelf Awareness
"There is much to enjoy in Ole G. Mouritsen's beautifully illustrated book."
"A fascinating book, filled with illustrations of algae and examples of seaweed cuisine, [...] [that] will open your eyes to another world, where seaweed is valued and cherished."
– Adele Kleine, Chicago Botanic Garden, Current Books on Gardening & Botany
"Mouritsen [...] brings his passion and inquisitiveness to the exploration of past, present, and potential uses of seaweeds. His approach can best be described as artistic, gastronomic, and scientific. Seaweeds is a visual feast. Bright photographs, reproduced ancient illustrations, and line drawings compete with a well-researched text for the reader's attention [...] Seaweeds, unique in its presentation and orientation, equally at home on the coffee table and in the office, is a must for your phyco edification and entertainment."
– Journal of Phycology
"An enjoyable and stimulating book."
– Food Security
“Seaweeds is by far the most comprehensive, informative, and creative offering on macroalgae I have ever seen. And to this wealth of information, Ole G. Mouritsen has added many personal anecdotes, unusual recipes, and beautiful pictures. Anyone with simple curiosity or extensive knowledge about marine algae will enjoy this extraordinary book.”
– Shep Erhart, author of Sea Vegetable Celebration
“Ole G. Mouritsen has done it again! Seaweeds parallels his Sushi in excellence of presentation. The depth of his historic, biologic, economic, and culinary notes, including nutritional facts, is stunning. The layout and illustrations are a visual feast. What a fine exploration of marine meadow, forest, and garden plants. Having read Seaweeds, you will be compelled to further explore this unique and diverse group of plants. Personally, I’ll be following his recipes.”
– Louis D. Druehl, author of Pacific Seaweeds
“A great exploration of the wonderful world of seaweed and, more importantly, its potential for adding deliciousness to any meal.”
– René Redzepi, author of Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine
“Ole G. Mouritsen’s Seaweeds is a wonderfully wide-ranging, beautifully illustrated introduction to these strange, underappreciated, delicious forms of life.”
– Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking
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