January 30, 2010

Speaking of Shakespeare, what are the theater snacks? Oysters!

Oysters, crab, sturgeon, mussels, whelks, periwinkles, dried raisins and figs, hazelnuts, plums, cherries and peaches, blackberry and elderberry pies.

For the groundlings and stinkards, it was mostly oysters, which was what poor people ate back then. Oysters were the popcorn.

Did Shakespeare ever refer to oysters? Of course, including the most famous oyster-expression: "The world's mine oyster." But there are a bunch more:
I did her wrong/Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?/No/Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house/Why?/Why, to put ’s head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and leave his horns without a case.

I will not be sworn but love may transform me to an oyster; but I’ll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. 

Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench...

He kiss’d, the last of many doubled kisses/This orient pearl... ‘Good friend,’ quoth he/‘Say, the firm Roman to great Egypt sends/This treasure of an oyster....

He is my father, sir; and, sooth to say/In countenance somewhat doth resemble you/As much as an apple doth an oyster, and all one.

Rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house, as your pearl in your foul oyster.
You can see they didn't think much of oysters then. Presumably, the oysters/shells were thrown at the actors, and these lines inspired humorous punctuating splats of oyster onto the faces of hams.


annk said...

Likewise, a century ago or so, prisoners in Maine revolted over having to eat lobster day in and day out.

Ron said...

I think this is also true when the Pilgrims were shown lobsters by the Native Americans in what, 1620? Revolted they were!

kentuckyliz said...

Of course they were disgusted. They're big ocean cockroaches.

traditionalguy said...

Oyster thoughts on a raine cold day: 1)Oysters Rockefeller are an evil capitalist dish, so never order them when socialists are at the next table. 2)The need for some to eat buckets of raw oysters always seems to be a strange activity that may be evolution that has gone astray. 3) The Atlanta water supply has been stymied by the rights of a special species of Oyster in Apalachicola to never lack a full water flow during droughts. So what is so special about oysters which are everywhere? In the Environmental Tyranny that the Feds love,, because it gives them all power to stop human life without recieving mega bribes of cash...we should just payoff the crooks in rare oyster shells.

kentuckyliz said...

tradguy opineth: Oysters Rockefeller are an evil capitalist dish, so never order them when socialists are at the next table.

Change never to always; there, fixed.

An attorney friend of mine recentely posted a fb status message to the effect of: The world is my oyster, so I am working on becoming a pearl.

To which I responded: You know, that starts with irritation.


wv: atings

oysters were the atings of the groundlings.

that is nice and rhymy.

Fred4Pres said...

Oysters, come and walk with us
The day is warm and bright
A pleasent walk
A pleasent talk
Would be a shear delight
(Yes and perhaps if we get hungery on the way
We coul stop and ah, have a bite!!)
But mother oyster winked her eye
And shook her weary head
She new too well it was much to soon
To leave her oyster bed
"The sea is nice
Take my advice
And stay right here" mom said

The time has come my little friends
To talk of other things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbagges and kings
And while the sea is boiling hot
And wheather pigs have wings
Kaloo Kalay come run away
With the cabbagges and kings

Now ah, let me see
Ah!! A loaf of bread is what we cheerly need
(And how about some pepper, salt and vinagar?)
Ah yes yes of course of course
Now oysters dear, if you are ready
We shall begin the feed
Oh yes ah, the time has come my little friends
To talk of food and things
(Of pepper corns and mustard seeds
And other seasonings
We'll mix 'em all together
In a sauce that's made for kings
Kaloo Kalay we'll eat today
Like cabbagges and kings!!)

I, I wait for you I, oh excuse me
I deeply simplisize
For I've enjoyed you company
Oh much more than you realize
"Little oysters, little oysters??"
But answer there came none
And this was scarcly all because
They'ed been eaten


Were cabbagges
And kings!!!!
The End

Fred4Pres said...

The rare delicate Olympia. The sweeet sea taste of the Chesepeake Virginica. The bright metalic savoriness of a Kumumoto. The increasingly rarer but still good Long Island blue point. Or the flat shelled French oyster which reminds one of Paris. Or the blue collar Applachicola served gratis if you are drinking at the bar.

Oysters are food of the gods.

kentuckyliz said...

Not to any god that thinks shellfish aren't kosher.

Trooper York said...

Damn, the honeymoon is really over if you guys need to go to the Oysters already! Just sayn'

Fred4Pres said...

I think Leviticus was a misreading. The writer got a bad one and oysters got a bad rap. The Jews have suffered enough not having oysters and calamari.

God loves us eating oysters. That is why they are so tasty.

Fred4Pres said...

Then there are the delights of clams. Quahogs, steamers, cockels, horse clams, delicate razor clams, tiny cherrystones to massive geoducks.

Oh they are so good.

Fred4Pres said...

Jesus was the new covenant which included the eating of tasty shellfish--especially on Fridays in Lent.

AllenS said...

Before Viagra, oysters were considered an aphrodisiac.

ironrailsironweights said...

Oysters Rockefeller are an evil capitalist dish, so never order them when socialists are at the next table.

Most places that serve Oysters Rockefeller make them with spinach. That is wrong, there should be no spinach in them at all.


Cedarford said...

The global human genetic dissemination studies are turning up dozens of surprises that challenge our study of human history, and of prehistory.

One of the more interesting ones is of humans spreading from Africa, then the New World - not so much as hunters or peaceful vegans - but as clammers and oyster munchers - initially along the coasts.

Then inland once the shellfish were limited to dine on soon to be extinct megafauna net fish and get what they could dig or forage....then figuring out how to grow things.

They built boats. Not to find Freedom!! - but new coasts with new beds of mussels, clams, and oysters.

All pre-Shakespeare, of course, by the original groundlings and stinkards.

rcocean said...

I just love Shakespeare Saturday.

t-man said...

I had a dozen oysters for lunch yesterday at the appropriately named Oyster House.

rhhardin said...

"The oyster, the size of an average pebble, looks rougher, its colors less uniform, brilliantly whitish. It is a world stubbornly closed. And yet, it can be opened : then you've got to hold it in the hollow of a dish towel, use a jagged and rather tricky knife, repeat this several times. Curious fingers cut themselves on it, nails break : it's tough work. Hitting it that way leaves white circles, like halos, on its envelope.

Inside, one finds a whole world to drink and eat : under a nacreous firmament (strictly speaking), the heavens above recline on the heavens below, and form a single pool, a viscous and greenish sachet that flows in and out when you smell it or look at it, fringed with blackish lace along the edges.

Sometimes, a very rare formula pearls in its nacreous throat and right away you've found an ornament."

Francis Ponge

kentuckyliz said...


I think I'm going to make some popcorn.

C4d--interesting, where can I read more?

John said...

My wife Mary (of Halifax) told me that Alistair MacLean said somewhere that in his youth (the '30s) he was embarassed because his family couldn't afford to give him bologna sandwiches for lunch - he had to settle for lobster sandwiches.

John said...

Oops! Alistair MacLeod talked about that. correction