American Indians have been credited with discovering the culinary value by creating the first oyster stew. Poets, artists and lovers through the centuries have extolled its virtue as a passion enhancer - Casanova, history's greatest lover, owed his prowess in the boudoir to oysters …
Although oysters have managed to maintain their mystique through the years, we do know that they are as delectable as they are mystical.
Beds in China?
Artificial oysterbeds existed in China long before the Romans and Greeks took up the practice of cultivating them, according to British Oyster expert, John Philpots. The Chinese occasionally ate their oysters raw, their preference being for dried oysters.
Greeks began to cultivate oysters as early as the fourth century BC. The fisherman would toss broken pottery dishes onto natural oyster beds where young, fledgling oysters looking for a suitable nesting spot would settle. Unbeknown to them they were not only laying down the foundations for the recycling industry, but cultivating the delectable mollusc as well.
And the French?
Oysters were used as projectiles by the Huguenots after their ammunition ran out at the siege of La Rochelle (16 Century).
Do as the Romans do …?
Oysters were in great demand at luxurious tables of Rome, where no orgy was complete without them. The Roman Emperor Vitellius was said to have eaten a thousand oysters at a single sitting.
Oyster stories through the centuries are too numerous for all to be recounted. They are best served raw on the half shell with Tabasco, pepper and lemon being optional.