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A prairie oyster (sometimes also prairie cocktail) is a traditional beverage consisting of a raw egg (often yolk alone), Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and/or hot sauce, table salt, and ground black pepper. Tomato juice is sometimes added, reminiscent of a Bloody Mary. The egg is broken into a glass so as not to break the yolk. The mixture is quickly swallowed. The unbroken yolk causes the drink to bear a texture similar to that of an oyster. The concoction has been referred to as a traditional cure for hangovers, and has appeared in media for decades.
Supposed hangover remedy propertiesEdit
Though considered a traditional hangover remedy, the prairie oyster has not been scientifically proven to treat hangover symptoms. Headache experts say that a prairie oyster will not work as a remedy for a hangover.
It has been suggested that the raw egg in a prairie oyster may alleviate the symptoms of a hangover since eggs contain cysteine, an animo acid which helps the body break down acetaldehyde, a by-product of processing alcohol. However, there is no reliable evidence showing that consuming foods with this amino acid relieves hangover symptoms. Furthermore, research shows that amino acids in raw eggs are less digestible than amino acids in cooked eggs.
It has also been suggested that a prairie oyster may seem to relieve hangover symptoms by acting as a distraction and a placebo.
In popular cultureEdit
- In P. G. Wodehouse's 1916 short story "Jeeves Takes Charge", Jeeves cures Bertie Wooster's hangover with his version of a prairie oyster. The drink is not named in the story but it fits the description of a prairie oyster. As Jeeves says, "It is a little preparation of my own invention. It is the Worcester Sauce that gives it its colour. The raw egg makes it nutritious. The red pepper gives it its bite." Jeeves also serves this hangover cure in other stories. It is very effective, and Bertie suspects that there is more to the drink than the ingredients mentioned by Jeeves.
- In the 1936 Frank Capra film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Longfellow Deeds is offered a prairie oyster after a night on the town.
- The novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939) by Christopher Isherwood mentions prairie oysters several times, where Sally and Chris drink them in Sally's room.
- The Palm Beach Story, the 1942 screwball comedy directed by Preston Sturges, shows Gerry Jeffers ordering a prairie oyster in a train dining car.
- In the 1972 film Cabaret, Sally Bowles regularly makes prairie oysters, remarking that they "work instantly, even on the most sinister hangovers".
- In a 1998 episode of the anime Cowboy Bebop, the protagonist Spike Spiegel orders a prairie oyster to get over a hangover.
- In Season 1, episode 14 “The Harriet Dinner, Part II” (2007) of the television show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Jack Rudolph suggests that Kim Tao is given a prairie oyster after drinking too much tequila.
- In the 2010 play Heathers: The Musical by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O'Keefe, one of the titular characters, Heather Chandler, requests a prairie oyster, to alleviate the hungover feeling after the party scene.
- In the 1993 Addams Family Values, Gomez Addams makes a Prairie Oyster and shakes it up in a bottle to give to his infant son after a night of celebrating Fester's wedding to Debbie.
- Amber Moon, a similar drink containing alcohol
- Cox, Lauren (December 31, 2009). "Hangover 'Cures': What Helps and What Hurts". ABC News. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
- Stevens, Ashlie (March 7, 2016). "The Prairie Oyster: A Survey of 100 Years in Pop Culture". Eater. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
- "Hangover cure #4: The Prairie Oyster". Now Toronto. November 17, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
- Greenwood, Veronique (December 31, 2018). "No, you can't eat your way out of a hangover". BBC Future. BBC. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
- Palsdottir, Hrefna (July 23, 2016). "Is Eating Raw Eggs Safe and Healthy?". Healthline. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
- Robson, David (December 15, 2015). "What's the secret to dodging hangovers?". BBC Future. BBC. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
- Cawthorne, Nigel (2013). A Brief Guide to Jeeves and Wooster. London: Constable & Robinson. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-78033-824-8.
- Wodehouse, P. G. (2008) . "Jeeves Takes Charge". Come On, Jeeves (Reprinted ed.). Arrow Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780099513698.
- Wodehouse, P. G. (2008) . "Chapter 5". Right Ho, Jeeves (Reprinted ed.). Arrow Books. p. 48. ISBN 9780099513742. Bertie narrates: "I have had occasion, I fancy, to speak before now of these pick-me-ups of Jeeves's [...] What they consist of, I couldn't tell you. He says some kind of sauce, the yolk of a raw egg and a dash of red pepper, but nothing will convince me that the thing doesn't go much deeper than that."