Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
IN the first place, the shell fish called oysters are readily
cooked, or may be eaten raw with great satisfaction. I know not
what our people of Virginia would have done without them, and
yet it was only by chance or accident that we came to learn
how nourishing they are.
A company of our gentlemen had set off to explore the country
very shortly after we came ashore from the fleet, and while
going through that portion of the forest which borders upon
the bay, happened upon four savages who were cooking
something over the fire.
The Indians ran away in alarm, and, on coming up to discover
what the brown men had which was good
 to eat, the explorers
found a large number of oysters roasting on the coals. Through
curiosity, one of our gentlemen tasted of the fish, and, much
to his surprise, found it very agreeable to the stomach.
Before telling his companions the result of his experiment,
he ate all the oysters that had been cooked, which were more
than two dozen large ones, and then, instead of exploring the
land any further on that day, our gentlemen spent their time
gathering and roasting the very agreeable fish.
As a matter of course, the news of this discovery spread
throughout the settlement, and straightway every person
was eating oysters; but they soon tired of them, hankering
after wheat of some kind.
Among those who served some of the gentlemen even as
Nathaniel and I aimed to serve Captain Smith,
 was James
Brumfield, a lazy, shiftless lad near to seventeen years
old. Being hungry, and not inclined to build a fire, because
it would be necessary to gather fuel, he ventured to taste of
a raw oyster. Finding it pleasant to the mouth, he actually
gorged himself until sickness put an end to the gluttonous meal.
It can thus be seen that even though Nathaniel and I had never
been apprenticed to a cook, it was not difficult for us to
serve our master with oysters roasted or raw, laid on that
which answered in the stead of a table, in their own shells.