“Goddamn it, I’m eating, I don’t want to hear about this. Gross.”
This is going to be a short article, and it’s going to haunt you for a long time. We’d apologize but we ran out of sorries somewhere around the time we wrote an articles with 90 pictures of sex jokes from Paper Mario 64.
But no. We learned something horrible today, and we decided to drop everything and put together some 500 words so that you, our dear, beloved readers, can have their day ruined as well.
We are monsters and we must be stopped. Because.
Oyster Ice Cream Exists. Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair
Look, what do you want us to say, we’re as mad as you are that this is a thing. So we’re going to talk about it, so we can understand it. Or so we can at least not be the only ones cursed with this hateful knowledge.
Now, like, three of you reading this might stop us to say, “AFFotD, you swear too much for our tastes, also we knew about oyster ice cream—Mark Twain liked it so much he referenced it in Tom Sawyer,” to which we’d respond, shut up you fucking nerd, and also you’re wrong, that’s some weird and easily-refutable rumor that exists for some reason. Fucking nerd.
There is a lot of mythology to oyster ice cream (ugh every time we say it we die a little on the inside) and a lot of that is, apparently, just that. Myth. Per the Vice article by Alex Swerdloff we linked to in the previous paragraph, it was rumored to have been featured in the first Thanksgiving (there was no way to make ice cream at that place, at that time), to be a favorite of George Washington (not likely), and to have been served at parties by First Lady Dolley Madison (psh, learn how to spell Dolly, idiot).
Most of that is almost assuredly bullshit! Though the Dolley Madison is at least possible—the only refutation of it was a few historians claiming, “Naw she served a lot of ice cream at parties, but never oyster.” So who knows.
To be fair she definitely looks like she’d be into freaky shit like frozen oyster cream.
The first (and, up until fairly recently, only) recipe for oyster ice cream came from the 1824 cookbook, The Virginia Housewife written by Mary Rudolph. The recipe can be found below. We are legally required to tell you that, if you actually take this recipe and try to make it at home, we will break into your house and fucking murder you and your family as they sleep. Don’t make us into killers, dear reader. Do not create this horror.
Make a rich soup, (see directions for oyster soup,) strain it from the oysters, and freeze it.
Wash and drain two quarts of oysters, put them on with three quarts of water, three onions chopped up, two or three slices of lean ham, pepper and salt; boil it till reduced one-half, strain it through a sieve, return the liquid into the pot, put in one quart of fresh oysters, boil it till they are sufficiently done, and thicken the soup with four spoonsful of flour, two gills of rich cream, and the yelks of six new laid eggs beaten well; boil it a few minutes after the thickening is put in. Take care that it does not curdle, and that the flour is not in lumps; serve it up with the last oysters that were put in. If the flavour of thyme be agreeable, you may put in a little, but take care that it does not boil in it long enough to discolour the soup.
You now must make someone else read the recipe, or you will die in seven days.
In certain countries, three quarts of oysters is less of an ingredient for a recipe and more method of execution.
In reality, we don’t think that oyster ice cream was really a thing back in the olden days. But, sadly, dear, kindhearted, cursed reader, that doesn’t change the fact that it exists today.
It seems to be an oddity that was referenced in a single cookbook, and which then had a history retroactively placed upon it. In 2014, a Wilmington, North Carolina chef made oyster ice cream, which he had first encountered in Japan, but then found historical research linking it to our founding fathers.
But that assertion is only backed up by a 2010 article from the Colonial Williamsburg Journal which no longer exists and has been redirected to their home page (the real link is there, but clicking it will get you NOWHERE, friends).
In fact, after its initial appearance in print in 1824, oyster ice cream was never mentioned until it appeared on the American version of Iron Chef in 1999, claiming to be a Japanese delicacy.
“Iron Chefs…knives out…let’s poison some judges with oyster shit.” (Full discloser no one on our staff remembers what the Iron Chef guy says to start each round.)
Ultimately, oyster ice cream might have been a “treat” to the likes of Doll(e)y Madison in the early days of America. But we suspect that it’s a thing that barely ever existed, and then a few chefs thought “well, we’re already making bullshit ice cream flavors, let’s give oysters a go for shock value” and we all sort of shat out a history behind that dumb dish.
Much like most things in 2020, the truth doesn’t matter here, because at the end of the day, oyster ice cream is very much a real thing that you can eat. Which is terrible. And now you know that. You will take this truly evil knowledge with you to the grave. You’re welcome?