Some piscivorous gourmands think that oysters are not best when quite fresh from their beds, and that their flavor is too brackish and harsh, and is much ameliorated by giving them a feed.
Cover them with clean water, with a pint of salt to about two gallons (nothing else, no oatmeal, flour, nor any other trumpery); this will cleanse them from the mud and sand, etc. of the bed; after they have lain in it twelve hours, change it for fresh salt and water, and in twelve hours more they will be in prime order for the mouth, and remain so two or three days: at the time of high water you may see them open their shells, in expectation of receiving their usual food. This process of feeding oysters is only employed when a great many come up together.
Common people are indifferent about the manner of opening oysters, and the time of" eating them after they are opened; nothing, however, is more important in the enlight ened eyes of the experienced oyster-eater.
Those who wish to enjoy this delicious restorative in its utmost perfection, must eat it the moment it is opened, with its own gravy in the under shell; if not eaten while absolutely alive, its flavor and spirit are lost
Shell-fish have long held a high rank in the catalogue of easily digestible and speedi-ly restorative foods; of these the oyster cer tainly deserves the best character, but we think it has acquired not a little more reputation for these qualities than it deserves; a well-dressed chop or steak, will invigorate the heart in a much higher ratio; to recruit the animal spirits, and support strength, there is nothing equal to animal food; when Kept till properly tender, none will give so little trouble to the digestive organs, and so much substantial excitement to the constitution.
Put them into water, and wash and clean them with a birch broom; laying them with the deep shell downwards into a tub or broad platter, and then sprinkle them over with salt. The following day pour over them and fill the vessel with clean cold water, in which they must remain an hour, then pour it off again; sprinkle them with salt, and let this be repeated every day. This method will keep them good for a fortnight.