Oyster HistoryAncient Greeks used to serve oysters as an incentive to drink. Romans imported them from England, placed them in salt water pools, and fattened them up by feeding them wine and pastries. Many cultures consider oysters an aphrodisiac.
Native Americans on both coasts of North America considered oysters a staple foodstuff. Great piles of oyster shells in many different areas of the shoreline are evidence of the early voracious appetite for these mollusks.
Early Colonial settlers would eat oysters by the gross (144), rather than by the dozen, with per capita consumption at 10 bushels per year.
Abraham Lincoln used to throw parties at his home in Illinois where nothing but oysters was served.
The "Oyster Line" brought oysters westward via stagecoach to settlers with unwavering penchants who ventured into the wild frontier in search of new land. Hangtown Fry, a then-expensive dish of oysters and eggs, was created in 1849 at Cary House during the Gold Rush Days.
Nowadays, in Europe, a dozen (12) is considered a standard serving size for a course, whereas in the US, a half-dozen (6) is the norm. Americans alone consume over 100 million pounds of oysters per year.
More about Oysters:• Oyster Cooking Tips
• Why only eat oysters in months with the letter "r"? FAQ
• Oyster Varieties
• Oyster Selection and Storage
• Why do oysters grow pearls? FAQ
• Oyster History
• Oyster Measures and Equivalents
• Oysters and Health
• Oyster Recipes
Oyster Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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