23 May 2016

Some Oyster Recipes

It seems that we start EVERY post by how much we like X Y or Z.  I know you have heard this exact phrase before with a different subject, but we do love little oyster books. Oysters are not everyone's cup of tea, so when a series of books has a volume featuring the oyster, the oyster book is often one of the hardest to find. And face it, there is nothing better than an oyster on the half-shell, so all the recipes in the world don't amount to a vast culinary exploration.  One of my favorite books is M. F. K. Fisher's  Consider the Oyster.  It is quite remarkable to me because there are numerous recipes for oyster stew.  Almost every recipe has exactly the same ingredients, and yet Fisher writes about them as if each one is unique.

Helen Evans Brown wrote a tiny book called Some Oyster Recipes.  The book was published by Ampersand Press in Pasadena, California. Ampersand Press published small editions of books that were more works of art than actual books.  Some Oyster Recipes is a scant 28 pages. Published in 1951, it was voted one of the 50 Books of the Year by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Helen Evans Brown was a noted food writer in the late 1940's and 50's. She was a leading proponent of West Coast and California cuisine until her untimely death in 1964. This appetizer is the height of elegance.

Oyster and Caviar Sandwich

This is for one of those festive moments when champagne is being served and you are in an expansive mood. Cut rounds of fresh bread, spread half with butter, half with caviar; dip small oysters in lemon juice, put in between tow slices (one of each), and press firmly together. The oyster should be smaller than the bread so that its existence is unexpected.  Serve these delectables very cold.

Ah, to be in an expansive mood!

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