“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography.”
Federico Fellini, Italian film director (1920-1993)
“....oysters are the only food that never causes indigestion. Indeed, a man would have to eat sixteen dozen of these acephalous molluscs in order to gain the 315 grammes of nitrogen he requires daily.”
Jules Verne, 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' (1870)
“The man who doesn't like oysters, the woman who cannot abide sardines. We know the type.”
Harold Nicolson, 'Food' (1942)
“The poorer a place is the greater call there seems for oysters. Look here, Sir, here's a oyster stall to every half dozen houses -- the street's lined with 'em. Blessed if I don't think that when a man's very poor, he rushes out of his lodgings and eats oysters in regular desperation.”
Charles Dickens, 'The Pickwick Papers' (1836)
“Oysters are the most tender and delicate of all seafoods. The stay in bed all day and night. They never work or take exercise, are stupendous drinkers, and wait for their meals to come to them.”
Hector Bolitho 'The Glorious Oyster' (1960)
“What will happen to me, as the oyster said when he very inadvertently swallowed the gooseberry bush, nobody can tell.”
Edward Lear, English artist, writer (1812-1888)
“Oysters are very unsatisfactory food for the labouring men, but will do for the sedentary, and for a supper to sleep on.”
Albert J. Bellows, ‘The Philosophy of Eating’ (1867)
“Oyster, n. A slimy, gobby shellfish which civilization gives men the hardihood to eat without removing its entrails!”
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) 'The Devil's Dictionary' (1911)
“I prefer my oysters fried;
That way I know my oysters died.”
Roy Blount, Jr.
“I am in a very unsettled condition, as the oyster said when they poured melted butter all over his back.”
Edward Lear, English artist, writer (1812-1888)
"I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded, dead."
"He was a very valiant man who first adventured on eating of oysters."
James I (Thomas Fuller's ‘Worthies of England’)
"He was a bold man that first eat an oyster."
Jonathan Swift, listed as a cliché in ‘Polite Conversation’
Describing Ostend oysters: "small and rich, looking like little ears enfolded in shells, and melting between the palate and the tongue like salted sweets."
Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) 'Bel Ami'
"Oysters are more beautiful than any religion....There's nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster."
Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) Scottish writer (1870-1916)
According to a companion, Thackeray, when presented with a half-dozen 6 to 8 inch oysters common at the time: "He first selected the smallest one...and then bowed his head as though he were saying grace. Opening his mouth very wide, he struggled for a moment, after which all was over. I shall never forget the comic look of despair he cast upon the other five over-occupied shells. I asked him how he felt. 'Profoundly grateful,' he said, 'as if I had swallowed a small baby.'"
William Makepeace Thackeray (1852)
"Why, then the world's mine oyster, Which I with sword will open."
William Shakespeare, 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'
"Poor Britons, there is some good in them after all -- they produced an oyster."
Roman historian, when the Roman invaders discovered the natural oyster beds in East Anglia.
"Oysters are the usual opening to a winter breakfast....Indeed, they are almost indispensable."
Grimod de la Reyniere (1758-1838)
"Before I was born my mother was in great agony of spirit and in a tragic situation. She could take no food except iced oysters and champagne. If people ask me when I began to dance, I reply, 'In my mother's womb, probably as a result of the oysters and champagne - the food of Aphrodite.'"
Isadora Duncan, American dancer (1878-1927)
"An oyster, that marvel of delicacy, that concentration of sapid excellence, that mouthful before all other mouthfuls, who first had faith to believe it, and courage to execute? the exterior is not persuasive."
Henry Ward Beecher
"I never was much of an oyster eater, nor can I relish them 'in naturalibus' as some do, but require a quantity of sauces, lemons, cayenne peppers, bread and butter, and so forth, to render them palatable."
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)
"You needn't tell me that a man who doesn't love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either. He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy."
'Saki', pen name of Scottish writer Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916)
“A loaf of bread, the Walrus said,
Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters, dear,
We can begin to feed!”
Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) (1832-1898)
Alice Through the Looking-Glass
“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
Ernest Hemingway, ‘A Moveable Feast’
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