Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Oysters, Oysters, Oysters!

One would not think it likely that oysters would be a hot item on the menus in western Kentucky at the turn of the 19th century, but they were.  Some oysters were not the eating kind, but of the eating kind, raw oysters were considered a delicacy. What made them popular in western Kentucky?  Was it because they were considered to be an aphrodisiac?  I doubt it. I think it was something new and different that caught on. Oysters were served in almost every restaurant and they were the mainstay of many church suppers as well as private dinners.

County Court Day in Kentucky brought many folks to town to transact business and visit with friends. What better time to serve this popular food?  In 1905, the Ladies Aid Society provided food at a reasonable cost.[1]

Crittenden Record  10 February 1905

When the Marion Methodist Church held an oyster supper in the church basement on 22 November 1921, their menu included "Oyster Soup and Crackers, Fried Oysters, Celery, Pickles, Salad."[2] If you didn't like oysters, you were out of luck.

Mr. J.H. Orme, a pharmacist in Marion, entertained some of his friends at a "six course"  dinner in 1906.[3] He, too, favored oysters on his menu: "First, oyster cocktail, salad, olives and crackers; Second, birds on toast with French peas and scalloped oysters; Third, turkey with oyster dressing, creamed potatoes, hot biscuits and coffee; Fourth, pumpkin tarts, stuffed and pickled peaches; Fifth, brick ice cream and cakes." The sixth course was not given.  Among his guests were W.D. Baird, G.C. Gray, H.K. Woods, S. Gugenheim, T.H.R. Haase, T.J. Yandell, W.H. McElroy, G.M. Crider, S.M. Jenkins, W.G. Clifton, T.H. Cochran, R.L. Orme, H.L. Cook, Earnest Carnahan and, of course, J.H. Orme, the host. I wonder who did the cooking. I bet it wasn't Mr. Orme.

The next month, Mrs. Tresler entertained the Marion Musical Club. "The refreshments were served in two courses. The First Course consisted of hot chocolate, salmon salad, scalloped oysters and sandwiches and the Second Course consisted of ice cream and cake."[4]

This post is to show what our Crittenden County ancestors were eating  100 years ago. While oysters might be served on special occasions in the area today, I doubt you can find them on any restaurant menu in Marion. 

[1] "Hot Oyster Soup and Hot Coffee," advertisement, Crittenden Record, 10 February 1905, p. 8.
[2] "Oyster Supper," Crittenden Press, 18 November 1921, p. 5.
[3] "Mr. J.H. Orme Entertained," Crittenden Record, 7 December 1906, p. 1.
[4] "Mrs. Trisler Entertains the Marion Musical Club," Crittenden Press, 31 January 1907, p. 1.

Published 23 August 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

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