Our table companions were other editors and writers for the Telegram, men I saw all day and felt no desire to speak to. Like good newsmen everywhere, they knew what was important and homed in on their dinners. On the menu there would have been fresh oysters, inevitably, all of New York was crazy about oysters, they were served in hotels, in "oyster bars", in saloons, they were sold from pushcarts in the street......wonderful fresh oysters in abundance, cold, whole, alive, and dipped in a sharp red sauce. If we were a nation, they were our national dish.........And rack of lamb that you rely on not to be served, as you understand the term, but, more nearly thrown. The odor of the unwashed sommelier tinctured the bouquet of the wine he poured. But no matter. The newsmen were an island of quiet absorption in the roar.
From The Waterworks by EL Doctorow.