There is not a lover of oysters in existence who does not heartily sympathize with the boy who wanted to spell August "O-r-g-u-s-t," in order to bring it into the list of the months which contain an "r," in all of which oysters are in season. The delicious bivalves furnish an important, and, in most localities, a not expensive article of food; and the ease with which they are prepared for the table, and the great variety of ways in which they may be cooked and served, make them a great favorite with housekeepers.
Oysters in the shell must be kept in a cool cellar, and occasionally sprinkled with salt water. When fresh, the shell is firmly closed; if open, the oyster is dead and unfit for use. The small-shelled oysters have the finest flavor. For the freshness of canned oysters it is necessary to trust to the dealer, but never buy cans the sides of which are swollen. In preparing them for cooking or for the table, carefully remove all bits of shell. Never salt oysters for soups or stews till just before removing them from the fire, or they will shrivel up and be hard, and do not add butter. In frying, a little baking-powder added to the cracker-dust or corn-meal in which they are rolled will greatly improve them. Roasting in the shell preserves the natural flavor. Always serve immediately after cooking, no matter what method is used.
As to nutritive qualities, oysters rank much below butcher's meats, and it is even questioned whether they contain the phosphorus, or brain food, which has been credited to them in company with the finny tribe in general. But, when properly cooked, they are easy of digestion, and very proper food for persons whose occupation is sedentary, and whose duties do not call for heavy muscular exertion. Even for invalids, they are nutritious and wholesome, when delicately prepared.