Oysters have about the same composition as milk, containing carbohydrate matter which most flesh foods lack. Since they cost at least five times as much as milk, they are clearly not an economical food; but their flavor and ease of digestibility are highly prized. Large oysters are, generally speaking, more nutritious than small ones.
Take up each oyster separately in the fingers and remove all bits of shell and seaweed. Pour cold water over them to cleanse them, and drain them in a strainer.
Oyster liquid is seldom used, as enough comes from the oysters in cooking, but if desired it should be strained through clean cheese-cloth before using.
Oysters are easily digested, especially when eaten raw. - The Settlement Cook Book, Milwaukee, 1901
Cut up a chicken; roll in flour and brown well in a soup-pot, with a spoonful of lard, two slices of ham, one large onion (chopped fine), and a good-sized red pepper. When browned, cover the whole with water and stew until the chicken is perfectly tender. Then add the liquor of four or five dozen oysters, with water enough to make four quarts. When it has again come to a good boil, add the oysters and stir while sifting in one large spoonful of fresh file. Salt to taste. Serve immediately, placing a large spoonful of boiled rice in each soup plate. "Gumbo File" is made of the red sassafras leaves, dried and ground into a powder.