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Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Printable Version

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RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Gene C - 08-15-2015 07:32 AM

(08-15-2015 05:11 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  Thank you to all who participated! You all win the use of a time machine which will take you back to the Parker House in late July of 1864.

Just got back from Parker's.
Don't order the fried calf's brains. Yuk!


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - L Verge - 08-15-2015 12:33 PM

(08-14-2015 09:55 PM)Jim Page Wrote:  
(08-14-2015 07:41 PM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Do you also eat them raw (I know, in the US you also get them fried). If you get any here (at some gourmet meccas) they are served raw. I've never felt the need to try these.

I should now go into a routine like that guy in Forrest Gump did about how many ways shrimp can be served, but I won't!

Eva, I love raw oysters, usually on a saltine cracker and sprinkled with a mixture of lemon juice and Tabasco sauce. Recently, I've heard so much about the dangers of raw oysters that I've limited my intake to fried oysters and oyster stew. I also love them in Thanksgiving dressing, though my wife doesn't. She'll make a small pan especially for me with oysters in the dressing.

When I was a kid living in Apalachicola on the Florida Gulf Coast, that town was famous for its oysters. Probably still is. We'd buy raw oysters right off the boats in a big croaker sack for maybe $10. A croaker sack is made of coarse burlap and might hold 50 pounds of potatoes in its original use and holds a lot of oysters. We'd get our oyster knives--not real sharp, but with a very stiff 3" blade--and have ourselves a raw oyster feast. We'd also steam some over an open fire.

In parts of Florida, there are still enormous mounds of oyster shells created by prehistoric peoples, who evidently loved their oysters, too!!!

--Jim

Have you ever been to the Oyster Festival that is held every year in St. Mary's County, Maryland, Jim? It would be about an hour-and-a-half drive for you. They have shucking contests there that bring champion shuckers from all over and raw oysters as well as oysters cooked in all sorts of ways.

I'm waiting right now for November to come because Christ Episcopal Church in Accokeek, Maryland (about 20 minutes from Surratt House) has one of the best fried oyster and ham dinners around. Even the church itself is worth a visit - built in the 1700s and surrounded by a graceful old cemetery.

Nearby is the National Colonial Farm (built across from Mount Vernon and on the Civil War property of Confederate explosions expert, E. Pliny Bryan) and down the road a piece is historic Fort Washington. That dates to the colonial era also with earthenwork fortifications, but the current (huge) brick fort has the distinction of being the only fort in the United States to surrender without firing a shot. The young recruits manning it during the War of 1812 saw the mighty British fleet sailing in front of it and high-tailed it out of there!

End of travelogue and back to oysters: Every now and then an oyster shell (or piece thereof) works its way to the surface at Surratt House. Oysters were a staple of life in our area well into the 20th century when over-dredging and diseases created problems. Walkways were created with crushed oyster shells, and the shells were also used in the old mortar and plaster (along with horsehair and pig's hair) because of their heavy concentration of lime.

For Christmas decorations one year at Surratt House, I decided to incorporate two Southern Maryland staples of our economy into the period theme. First, I took a hand of tobacco and backed it with pine boughs and some holiy, added a ribbon bow, and hung it on the tavern door to greet our visitors.

Then, I took an evergreen wreath and decorated it with berries and oyster shells. The latter were actually pristine half-shells to which I had glued large, fake rubies, emeralds, amethysts, and sapphires to cover the blemish where the oyster had once been attached. Each gem only needed to be about the size of a quarter to cover that blemish. If I do say so myself, both the bough and the wreath got lots of nice compliments.

(08-15-2015 07:32 AM)Gene C Wrote:  
(08-15-2015 05:11 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  Thank you to all who participated! You all win the use of a time machine which will take you back to the Parker House in late July of 1864.

Just got back from Parker's.
Don't order the fried calf's brains. Yuk!

My father was from a small farming community named Gretna, Virginia, very near the North Carolina border. He was raised on brains and eggs every Sunday morning and used to beg my mother to fix them for him. Never happened! Of course, she would also rave over tongue sandwiches that she had as a child. It's a wonder I'm not a vegan...

I stand corrected, Jim. There is still a Hank's Oyster Bar at DuPont Circle and also one on Capitol Hill and in Old Town Alexandria. Somehow, though, I think these might be reincarnations in the name only. The story on the DuPont Circle one says it was started in 2005. And, when you go to their menu selections, there are lots more seafood items than oysters. BTW, one oyster on the half-shell there appears to cost $2.25. The last time I tried raw oysters, a plate of six cost that much!


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Jim Page - 08-15-2015 02:09 PM

(08-15-2015 12:33 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Have you ever been to the Oyster Festival that is held every year in St. Mary's County, Maryland, Jim? It would be about an hour-and-a-half drive for you. They have shucking contests there that bring champion shuckers from all over and raw oysters as well as oysters cooked in all sorts of ways.

I'm waiting right now for November to come because Christ Episcopal Church in Accokeek, Maryland (about 20 minutes from Surratt House) has one of the best fried oyster and ham dinners around. Even the church itself is worth a visit - built in the 1700s and surrounded by a graceful old cemetery.
---------------
There is still a Hank's Oyster Bar at DuPont Circle and also one on Capitol Hill and in Old Town Alexandria. Somehow, though, I think these might be reincarnations in the name only. The story on the DuPont Circle one says it was started in 2005. And, when you go to their menu selections, there are lots more seafood items than oysters. BTW, one oyster on the half-shell there appears to cost $2.25. The last time I tried raw oysters, a plate of six cost that much!

Those sound like my kind of events. Laurie!

As far as Hank's, you are surely correct. At one time, they tried to suggest they had been in D.C. longer than any other restaurant, but someone must have scolded them. The name, maybe, but a different restaurant than the original.

--Jim


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Anita - 08-15-2015 07:06 PM

In 1868 Mary and Tad left for Bremen. One of the 40 passengers on the same ship had a Lincoln connection. What is his name?


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-16-2015 05:02 AM

Wild guess - George McClellan?


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Eva Elisabeth - 08-16-2015 10:25 AM

(I believe Roger is correct!)


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Anita - 08-16-2015 04:08 PM

It is not George McClellan Eva and Roger. If he was on the ship I can't find a record of it.

Hint #1 The passenger I'm thinking of knew Lincoln "in an up close personal way."


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Anita - 08-16-2015 08:11 PM

[attachment=1776]

Hint #2 His son would sit in Lincoln's lap while he worked and later became the artist who painted the attached portrait of Lincoln.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Eva Elisabeth - 08-17-2015 04:12 AM

Anita, I don't know about the artist (Thomas Hicks?) but wasn't at one of the voyages a CW general aboard - Sheridan or Sherman or McClellan?


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-17-2015 05:00 AM

Anita, I am going to switch my answer to Leonard Volk.

(Maybe not this voyage, but I am in agreement with Eva. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, is the vague recollection of a Civil War general being a passenger on a ship she was on. I have forgotten the specifics.)


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Eva Elisabeth - 08-17-2015 05:33 AM

Philip Sheridan was aboard the "Russia" when she and Tad returned to the USA in 1871.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-17-2015 05:50 AM

Thanks, Eva!!


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Anita - 08-17-2015 10:56 AM

Kudos Roger, it was indeed Leonard Volk. My source is Jean Baker's "Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography".

Volk's son is Stephen Arnold Douglas Volk. " Mr. Volk, son of the late Leonard Volk, American Sculptor, sat in Lincoln's lap several times while the great Emancipator posed for a bust which brought fame to the elder Volk. This portrait "Lincoln the Ever Sympathetic" was inspired by a life mask made by Leonard Volk, his father."
https://archive.org/stream/artistsofabrahamvlinc/artistsofabrahamvlinc_djvu.txt

While researching this post I learned Lincoln had already lost 40 lbs before he arrived in Washington!
"The last time I saw Mr. Lincoln was in January 1861, at his house in Springfield. His little parlor was full of friends and politicians. He introduced me to them all, and remarked to me aside that, since he had sat for me for his bust, he had lost forty pounds in weight."
--Leonard Volk in "Intimate Memories of Lincoln"


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - RJNorton - 08-17-2015 01:46 PM

(08-17-2015 10:56 AM)Anita Wrote:  While researching this post I learned Lincoln had already lost 40 lbs before he arrived in Washington!
"The last time I saw Mr. Lincoln was in January 1861, at his house in Springfield. His little parlor was full of friends and politicians. He introduced me to them all, and remarked to me aside that, since he had sat for me for his bust, he had lost forty pounds in weight."
--Leonard Volk in "Intimate Memories of Lincoln"

Very interesting, Anita! In my mind I had always pictured him being roughly 180 pounds when he departed Springfield, and down to about 150-160 by the time of the assassination.


RE: Mary Lincoln Extra Credit Questions - Anita - 08-20-2015 01:49 PM

Whom did Mary select to pose for a Lincoln portrait painting and who was the artist?