Whence thou, oysters?
November 2, 2012 12:52 PM Subscribe
How and why did Europeans eat so many oysters during the dark and middle ages?
posted by cmoj to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I've been reading about culinary history, and I keep finding references to people all over Europe eating, it seems, tons and tons of oysters for hundreds of years. I've even seen references to people who liked oysters so much that they ate them even if they were rotten! I seem to recall that one of the Louies was supposed to have eaten something like four dozen oysters for breakfast.
How did they manage this? Was the supply running so quickly that oysters were relatively fresh, even far from the coast, or did they have some way of transporting them alive or what? Or is it that a population of plague survivors living among sewage had hearty enough immune systems that eating rancid oysters was no problem?
I know oysters and shellfish have been food staples for lots of groups of humans, but why the seeming obsession across all of Europe? Why did it die down?