Here's the recipe Nellie taught to the army cooks:
• 2 dozen oysters
• 1 ounce butter
• 3 tablespoons milk or cream
• white pepper
• Catsup (optional)
• Parsley, chopped fine (optional)
• Grated lemon peel (optional)
• Lemon juice (optional)
• Thin cut strips of bread
Large oysters will do for stewing, and by some are preferred; but New Englanders love the plump, juicy natives. Stew a couple of dozen of these in their own liquor; when they are coming to a boil, skim well, take them up and beard them; strain the liquor through a tamis-sieve, and lay the oysters on a dish.
Put an ounce of butter into a stew-pan; when it is melted, add to it as much flour as will dry it up, the liquor of the oysters, and three tablespoons of milk or cream, and a little white pepper and salt.
To this some cooks add a little catsup, or finely-chopped parsley, grated lemon-peel, and juice; let it boil up for a couple of minutes, till it is smooth, then take it off the fire, put in the oysters, and let them get warm. They must not themselves be boiled, or they will become hard.
Line the bottom and sides of a hash-dish with bread-sippets, and pour your oysters and sauce into it.
This recipe needs a few explanatory additions. I've been questioned about the addition of "catsup" which sounds terrible modern. This variety was a homemade sauce, not something one pounded out of a bottle. The recipe follows tomorrow. A tamis-sleeve is an old-fashioned round, flat flour-sifter, looking like a round cake layer pan. As for "bread-sippets," they are simply thin strips or triangles of toast, usually prepared on a griddle or in an iron skillet, not a toaster. And last, the comment about bearding the oysters. Female oysters have a black hair-like structure that can simply be lifted off and discarded. (Now aren't you sorry you asked?)