In Chapter 6 of Beyond All Price, Nellie and the Roundheads moved to Annapolis, where their proximity to the seashore led Nellie to remember the New England recipes she had grown up with in Maine.
CHAPTER 2: NEW ENGLAND HERITAGE
In October 1861 the Roundhead Regiment moved to Annapolis in preparation for an as-yet-undefined mission. The men were anxious to get into the war, but at the same time they were anxious about what was to come. They needed distraction.
If there was one attraction that outweighed all the others, it was the taste of oysters taken fresh from Chesapeake Bay. Most had never sampled this common seafood, but it took only once to make dedicated oyster connoisseurs out of landlocked farm boys. Shucked oysters were available all over town for six cents a pint, and hungry soldiers could down a quart or two without spoiling their appetites a bit. Once in a while, someone sold them a bad oyster, leading Nellie, who had grown up among oyster-rakers, to encourage the men to go out and gather their own. When she could escape her sick call duties, she walked with her volunteers down to the shoreline and showed the men how and where to gather them.
“Just don’t ever eat an oyster whose shell is already opened,” she cautioned. “It may look like you’re taking the easy way out, but chances are the little creature inside is sick enough—or dead enough—to make you wish you’d never met him.” When several of her pupils became skilled enough to rake in a real harvest, Nellie took them all back to the mess kitchen and gave the cooks a lesson in how to make an oyster stew. The respite from the sick room and the appreciation of the diners did much to bolster Nellie’s mood.
[I'll be on Jury Duty next week, but I'll try to keep the recipes coming.]