“Stranger,
here you will do well to linger; here our highest good is pleasure”
Epicurus

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Bloody Mary Catsup

June 14, 2020

QUAFF. adj. to drink luxuriously
FUDDLE. adj. to drink to excess
CRÁPULENCE. n. queasiness due to too much fuddling and quaffing

If this eloquently exquisite list sounds familiar then today’s Sunday Brunch recipe may suit your quenching propensities and abligurition.

These are some of the 42,773 words from Samuel Johnson’s legendary 1755 dictionary of the English language – the first of its kind – which took him eight years to complete.

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But this fellow, who is known for writing accomplished poetry from the age of three, penning notable biographies and undertaking the modest task of re-editing the entire dramatic works of Shakespeare, wasn’t only famous for his wordsmithery.

He liked good food and modest pleasures, stating that 'there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.'

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Johnson was also renowned for his boundless affection for his cat, Hodge, for whom he provided a daily diet of fresh oysters which he insisted on buying personally so as not to embarrass his servant, a freed slave.

In 18th century London the perception of this testaceous shellfish was rather humble and a bylaw actually limited how often a gentleman could make his household eat them.

Thankfully, this tasty treat is no longer harvested from London’s riverbanks and for our recipe we have paired fine Pinneys of Orford oysters with a Broken Clock Bloody Mary catsup and a briny Dirty Martini.

One of the Bloody Mary’s origins is the Oyster Cocktail, a libation with all the classic ingredients of this mighty brunch drink but with raw oysters thrown in instead of vodka.

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BLOODY MARY CATSUP:

(for a ½ dozen oysters)

50 ml Broken Clock Vodka
50 ml Pulped Plum Tomatoes
10 ml Lemon Juice
1 tsp Grated Horseradish
1 tsp Diced Capers
4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
4 dashes Tabasco
Dill

Combine the ingredients and spoon onto each fresh shucked oyster.

DIRTY MARTINI:

65 ml Broken Clock Vodka
15 ml Noilly Prat
3 Sicilian Capers

Muddle the capers in a mixing glass and add the vodka, vermouth and ice. Stir until very cold and strain into a chilled glass. Why not make it more dirty with a drop of caper brine?