The word caviar comes from the Turkish khavyar, and eating sturgeon eggs is believed to have been a component of Eastern European and Middle Eastern diet since time immemorial. It has usually been thought of as a delicacy fit only for royals, but apparently in the US in the nineteenth century (when sturgeon were relatively common off the East Coast) they were regularly served for cheap or free in bars, because the saltiness got people to drink more. However, this overconsumption, combined with massive shipments of caviar to Europe (some of which was re-shipped back to the US as ‘Russian” caviar) led to the near-extinction of American sturgeon. this is aroundthe time when salmon roe and whitefish and lumpfish caviar became more common.
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