Saturday, December 7, 2013

"I Say, Old Chap, Shall We Dine at the Club Tonight?" (wink, wink)

"The Bordello Cookbook" by Jo Foxworth   Moyer Bell Press   229 pages   $24.95

Foxworth makes a lively point when she points out the fact that being a madam was about the only job possible for women in the late 1890s and early 1900s.  They didn't go out to the workplace because there was no workplace for them other than perhaps being a servant.

She gives as much of the back story as is available with the likes of the Everleigh sisters, Chicago; Sally Stanford, San Francisco; Miss Millie's, Atlanta;  and Miss Lulu, New Orleans.  Entrepreneurs all and to keep the men coming in, they also offered fine dining in addition to other, er, tasty tidbits.  All of the above served such lavish and tasty dinners that some customers never were interested in any activities while at the brothel.

Oysters gained their reputation as an aphrodisiacs in 1907 when a smart vendor added this sign to his push cart:  "Improve your love life!  Eat delicious oysters - six for 50 cents."  Today's nutritionists say his claim has validity -- oysters are rich in zinc; said zinc is conducive to sexual health.  (Who knew?)

Here's a recipe for pickled oysters for the man on the go - pop a container in your brown bag lunch - think of them as "Old-fashioned Viagra"

3 pints whole oysters, shucked, including their liquor
2 cups white wine vinegar
12 whole cloves
12 whole black peppercorns
2 T ground mace
2 small red peppers
Pinch of salt

Boil the oysters in their juice and put them in a bowl or jar.  Add the boiling vinegar and spices to the bowl; cover the bowl and let it cool.  Serve cold.

It's a fun read filled with all sorts of interesting trivia - Diamond Jim Brady, a big spender and an even bigger gourmand, had a stomach six times larger than a normal one and he never, ever drank although he was more than happy to see others do so and cheerfully paid enormous bar bills.   My kinda guy...

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