'He was a bold man that first ate an oyster!' Jonathan Swift was quoted as saying. Why, yes, they are funny-looking things to some, with sharp shells outside and an acquired texture inside, but what a guy, whoever that man was, for prising that first shell open!
People have actually been eating oysters since prehistoric times, years before champagne came onto the scene and became their tango partner, and everyone ate them, from the barrow boy to the playboy. New York was the place for this much-loved mollusc in the early 1800s, and they were available from street vendors and oyster saloons, where they were served in a whole variety of ways, including scalloped, fried, pan roasted or stewed; the Irish loved them dipped in butter on a slice of sourdough with a good ol' pint of Guinness. But - over-demand unfortunately caused the destruction of the oyster beds in New York Harbour, and they eventually became the delicacy that they are today.
We can understand why the New Yorkers were whipped into an oyster frenzy; they are glorious things, indeed - rich, tasty and highly nutritional. Let's also not forget the testosterone buzzing around the city must have been rife - it is no myth that the high zinc content in oysters boosts ones's energy, including one's libido. Who knows just how over-populated New York might be now if history had taken a different turn.
Fortunately for all of us, oysters are celebrated on the menu at Randall and Aubin all year round and we love nothing more than to serve them in a variety of exciting ways. Slurped or savoured, they are always our favourite way to start a meal!
Tweet us at @randallandaubin and join in the oyster fun with the hashtag #FancyAShuck?