Catsup - mushroom, walnut, cockles and mussels & more

As I took one of my usual walks through Minute Man National Park the other day, strolling by some old house or tavern that stood even back on the first (well, impetus for) Patriot's Day (April 19, 1775), all of the sudden I remembered a funny factoid I'd heard on NPR once about catsup barely ever being made of tomatoes back in Revolutionary Times. Apparently back in the day, when ketchup was called catsup and not commonly made of tomatoes, people made all types of catsups including mushroom, walnut, fish and celery. Having just experienced my first OysterFest in Wellfleet I have decided to share the recipe for Oyster Catsup,  excerpted from the catsup recipe blog post I found on a Civil War website (not the same war but the just as appropo) called Blue and Gray Daily.

Civil War Ketchups: http://www.civilwarinteractive.com/Ketchup.htm

Excerpt...

OYSTER CATCHUP (from Kitchiner again, p. 285)

1 qt. oysters
1 pint sherry (wine)
1 oz. salt
2 drachms mace (about 1/4 tsp.)
1 drachm Cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.)
1 glass brandy (1/4 c. )

Take fine fresh Milton oysters; wash them in their own liquor; skim it; pound them in a marble mortar; to a pint of oysters add a pint of sherry; boil them up, and add an ounce of salt, two drachms of pounded mace, and one of Cayenne; let it just boil up again; skim it, and rub it through a sieve, and when cold, bottle it, cork it well, and seal it down. Obs.--This composition very agreeably heightens the flavour of white sauces, and white made-dishes; and if you add a glass of brandy to it, it will keep good for a considerable time longer than oysters are out of season in England.

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