From 1880 to 1887, when mussels were considered vulgar and skate too ugly to cook, a group of socially prominent men met once a year to glut on unpopular seafood. Calling themselves the Ichthyophagous Club, they would “endeavor to overcome prejudice directed towards many kinds of fish, which are rarely eaten, because their excellence is unknown.” They would also serve punch.
An excerpt from the epic ballad composed to mark occasion of the first dinner:
When the Ichthyophagous dines
There’ll be many a curious dish
Of things ne’er caught with lines,
And not at all like fish—
Steaks of porpoise and ribs of whales,
Aspic of Jellyfish, octopus stew,
Shark-fin soup and gurry-gur-roo,
When the Ichthyophagous dines.