Monday, June 3, 2013
When Pamela doesn’t want to see me, I retreat into food and cocktails, to the point where Pamela complains that all I ever talk about is the overpriced crap I put into my mouth. My nonprofit salary goes entirely toward gin fizzes at Barramundi on Ludlow, hookah pipes at Kush on Orchard, oysters at Pisces on Avenue A, yam and roast duck at Le Tableau on Fifth Street. Post-gorging, my friends and I head back to the tiny studio I rent on Delancey Street to hear MC Solaar drop French-Senegalese beats on my new teac stereo and sing along to “Prose Combat” and “Nouveau Western.” A typical e-mail to Pam at the time: “We had tapas at Xunta that were nonpareil, dry sausage, blood sausage, olives stuffed with anchovies, sheep’s-milk cheese, patatas bravas, and the ubiquitous garlic shrimp.” Oh, that nonpareil dry sausage. Oh, those ubiquitous garlic shrimp. Shteyngart, New Yorker
Saturday, November 24, 2012
The supper itself was a keen mistake. To begin with, Miss Kate had never eaten an oyster and was deadly afraid of having to eat one when the Judge tried to coax her. [ … ] That second supper was qiute different from the Lutheran one. It turned out Miss Hettie adored oysters and was trying to get up nerve to swallow one whole. The old mother told a story about when she cooked an all-oyster dinner … raw oysters, scalloped oysters and so forth, which the old lady named in detail … for the business partner of Percy, “my beloved spouse,” and how it turned out that the partner couldn’t eat oysters at all. McCullers, Clock Without Hands
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012

"several dozen oysters in minutes"

[King Edward VII, while prince] filled his weeks and years with women, dancing, horse racing, playing cards, taking rest cures at Marienbad and shooting – he recorded 8463 pheasants over four days at one Leicestershire house party. And guzzling:

Shooting breakfast typically consisted of poulet sauté aux champignons, rump steaks pommes, saucisson doré and oeufs brouillés aux truffes. Shooting lunch was: Don Pedro sherry, curry of rabbits, ronde de boeuf, partridges, roast beef, galantine foie gras, wild boar, apple pudding and rum baba.

At Sandringham near the Norfolk coast, Bertie would swallow ‘several dozen oysters in minutes’.

— Bee Wilson, LRB

Sunday, August 12, 2012

goodly squabs, droll-flecked quail

Go get the goodly squab in gold-lobed corn
And pluck the droll-flecked quail where thick they lie;
Reap the round blue pigeon from roof ridge,
But let the fast-feathered eagle fly.

    Let the fast-feathered eagle fly
    And the skies crack through with thunder;
    Hide, hide, in the deep nest
    Lest the lightning strike you to cinder.

Go snare the sleeping bear in leaf-lined den
And trap the muskrat napping in slack sun;
Dupe the dull sow lounging snout in mud,
But let the galloping antelope run.

    Let the galloping antelope run
    And the snow blow up behind;
    Hide, hide, in the safe cave
    Lest the blizzard drive you blind.

Go cull the purple snails from slothful shells
And bait the drowsing trout by the brook’s brim;
Gather idle oysters from green shoals,
But let the quicksilver mackerel swim.

    Let the quicksilver mackerel swim
    Where the black wave topples down;
    Hide, hide, in the warm port
    Lest the water drag you to drown.

(from Plath’s juvenilia)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Housman and G.H. [not Thomas] Hardy

[I suspect that I previously larded this but I cannot find the post]

[Housman] designed the dinner, which was a procession of Hardy’s betes noires. Sherry instead of the cocktail he wanted. Oysters, which he never touched, with double Stout (i.e., ‘double’ the ‘hot roast mutton’ in drink). Turbot, the h.r.m. [hot roast mutton] in fish, followed by roast saddle of mutton.

JE Littlewood [previously: Hardy “had violent prejudices against food; his vocal obsession with the horror of hot roast mutton was something of a joke.”]

[biogs. of Hardy and Littlewood]

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

These Purists

Lovely! all the essential parts,
like an oyster without a shell
fresh and sweet tasting, to be
swallowed, chewed and swallowed.

Or better, a brain without a
skull. I remember once a guy in
our anatomy class dropped one
from the third floor window on
an organ grinder in Pine Street.

William Carlos Williams

[previously, six oysters]

[also: “a pathetic scene laid // upon thin slices / of sympathy" and "between // the thighs a delicious / lung with entrails / and a tongue or gorget"]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"For the conveyance of oysters"

Maxim Gorky, “Anton Chekhov: Fragments of Recollections”:

His enemy was banality; he fought it all his life long; he ridiculed it, drawing it with a pointed and unimpassioned pen, finding the mustiness of banality even where at the first glance everything seemed to be arranged very nicely, comfortably, and even brilliantly—and banality revenged itself upon him by a nasty prank, for it saw that his corpse, the corpse of a poet, was put into a railway truck “For the Conveyance of Oysters.”

That dirty green railway truck seems to me precisely the great, triumphant laugh of banality over its tired enemy; and all the “Recollections” in the gutter press are hypocritical sorrow, behind which I feel the cold and smelly breath of banality.

He also quotes Chekhov (and yes, I was just looking for “oysters”):

"A Russian is a strange creature," he once once. "He is like a sieve; nothing remains in him. In his youth he fills himself greedily with anything which he comes across, and after thirty years nothing remains but a kind of gray rubbish. … In order to live well and humanly one must work—work with love and with faith. But we, we can’t do it. An architect, having built a couple of decent buildings, sits down to play cards, plays all his life, or else is to be found somewhere behind the scenes of some theatre. A doctor, if he has a practice, ceases to be interested in science, and reads nothing butThe Medical Journal, and at forty seriously believes that all diseases have their origin in catarrh. I have never met a single civil servant who had any idea of the meaning of his work: usually he sits in the metropolis or the chief town of the province, and writes papers and sends them off to Zmiev or Smargon for attention. But that those papers will deprive some one in Zmiev or Smargon of freedom of movement—of that a civil servant thinks as little as an atheist of the tortures of hell. A lawyer who has made a name by a successful defense ceases to care about justice, and defends only the rights of property, gambles on the Turf, eats oysters, figures as a connoisseur of all the arts. An actor, having taken taken two or three parts tolerably, no longer troubles to learn his parts, puts on a silk hat, and thinks himself a genius. Russia as is a land of insatiable and lazy people: they eat enormously of nice things, drink, like to sleep in the day-time, and snore in their sleep. They marry in order to get their house looked after and keep mistresses in order to be thought well of in society. Their psychology is that of a dog: when they are beaten, they whine shrilly and run into their kennels; when petted, they lie on their backs with their paws in the air and wag their tails."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sir Thomas Browne: “the neatest way is to have pickles always ready”

TWO neat pickles may be contrived, the one of oysters stewed in their own vinegar, with thyme, lemon peel, onion, mace, pepper; adding Rhenish wine, elder vinegar, three or four pickled cucumbers.

Another with equal parts of the liquor of oysters, and the liquor that runs from herrings newly salted, dissolving anchovy therein, or pickling therein a few smelts, or garlick, especially the seeds thereof.

High esteem was made of garum by the ancients, and was used in sauces, puddings, &c. If simply made with aromatic mixture, as is delivered, it cannot but have an ungrateful smell, however a haut gout, for it was the liquor or the resolution of guts of fishes, salt and insolated.

This same way may be tried by us yearly, and is still continued in Turkey.

And may be made out of the entrails of the mackarel, the liquor that runs from the herrings which may dissolve anchovies, and with a mixture of oysters and limpets and the testaceous fishes, whereof every one makes his own pickle, and varieth the taste of sea water.

The neatest way is to have pickles always ready, wherein we may made additions at our pleasure, or use them simply in sauces. The ancients loaded their pickles with cummin seed and the like, distasteful unto our senses.

— From his commonplace book

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Oysters in all months in whose name an R is found"

Health’s improvement