Oysters have held a special place in our hearts since the first caveman savored a slurp. Long a symbol of decadence and luxury, oysters have been seen being enjoyed by the rich and famous for decades. Of course, oysters are widely available now, and we recommend enjoying them as often as possible. Oysters have also played an important role in pop culture, from literature to music and film. Here are a few of the ways that oysters have made their way into the public eye.
One of the earliest references to oysters in literature comes from the Roman poet Martial who wrote about the pleasures of eating oysters in his Epigrams. Oysters also feature prominently in Shakespeare’s plays, including The Merry Wives of Windsor and Romeo and Juliet. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff is mocked for his love of oysters while in Romeo and Juliet, Romeo describes Juliet’s beauty as a “snowy dove trooping with crows, as yonder lady o’er her fellow shows.” In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," oysters are tricked and then eaten by the Walrus and the Carpenter.
Oysters have also made appearances in popular music. In 1955, blues musician Muddy Waters released a song called “The Crawfish,” which includes the line “I like oysters, I like ‘em raw.” The Doors also reference oysters in their song “Soul Kitchen,” where lead singer Jim Morrison sings about “stewin’ all night in your Soul Kitchen, boilin' crawdads and oyster shells.” And, of course, who could forget the Blue Oyster Cult?
Film & Television
Oysters have also appeared in numerous films and television shows. In the 1963 film The Nutty Professor, Jerry Lewis plays a character who transforms into a suave lady's man after drinking a potion that includes oysters. In the 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters, Woody Allen’s character orders a dozen oysters on the half shell for his date, declaring that they are an aphrodisiac. And in the famous show The Sopranos, oysters are frequently seen on the menu at the Italian restaurants they frequent and the character Paulie Gualtieri orders them often.
No matter where you look, it seems like oysters often make their way into the spotlight. We don’t know if it’s because of all of the mythology and legend surrounding them, or because they’re so dang delicious, but we love to see it.