Coast Weekend Magazine Review, By Valerie Ryan (8/26/2010)

This one hits the trifecta: a beautifully made book, complete with French flaps and terrific photography, interesting stories and fabulous recipes. The three women who wrote it dedicated it "to our mothers and grandmothers - women who raised us to be strong and inspired us to live our lives with creative and adventuresome spirits." They took it all to heart and worked in one of the most dangerous professions in the world: working the commercial fishing grounds of Alaska. This traditional male bastion held no terror too great for these intrepid women as they dealt with gales, seas as tall as buildings and impossibly long hours without rest. They, and other women friends who contributed to the book, have worked as captain and crew, engineer, deckhand, cook and general dogsbody. They have been involved in crab fishing on the Bering Sea, long-lining for turbot and black cod along the Aleutian Chain and tendering.

Tomi Marsh bought her own boat, the F/V Savage, acted as captain and also became her own engineer. When Tomi first signed on as cook on someone else's boat, she had no prior experience. She even had to ask someone how to make coffee! Her sister Kiyo came aboard for a summer job and stayed five years to fish, crew and cook on the Savage. The sisters were on the boat year-round and had to learn to feed themselves. They eventually fed others as well. Laura Cooper, wife of Stuart Mork, captain of a pilot boat, has her own stories to tell, also having long-lined and tendered in Alaska. In addition, she worked for the World Wildlife Fund to help create the certification program for promoting sustainability in fishing through the Marine Stewardship Council. Laura joined Kiyo and Tomi in shaping the book and contributed her collages to its pages.

At the very beginning there is a valuable section on "Fish Basics for Greenhorns: Tips, Techniques and Terms." There are succinct and easy-to-follow lessons on filleting, debearding mussels, picking a fresh fish, dealing with crab from the water to the table, cleaning clams - even cleaning a geoduck! There follows a discussion of several techniques: grilling, salting and brining and marinating. Then, we're into the heart of the matter: the recipes. They are original or variations with a special twist - and they are all good. How about Egg in a Hole, with Shrimp? Delicious. Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce - easy to prepare and slightly different - lighter than usual. There are also standbys: Razor Clam Fritters, Hot Seafood Salad, Ceviche and many others. There are notes on sustainability, surely an important part of managing the fishing industry and, woven through it all, amusing and amazing anecdotes told by these spirited, independent women. It's fun to read if you never use it in the kitchen, but you'll miss a lot if you don't try these recipes.

This is a keeper for every cook's shelf!