Food Friday: Festive Weekend


There is lots going on this weekend on the Eastern Shore waterfronts. Chestertown is preparing for the 18th Sultana’s Downrigging Weekend Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival. This four-day extravaganza boasts ships aplenty, tours, music, lectures, classic cars, fireworks and food.

Or if you are lucky enough to be in St. Michaels on Saturday, you can join the proud ranks of the oyster lovers at this year’s OysterFest. Come rain or shine, there will be oysters galore at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s annual OysterFest.

“He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.”
-Jonathan Swift

In addition to oysters in St. Michaels, there will also be dogs, boats, beer, music, Miss Edna the cat, and the re-launch of the 1889 bugeye Edna E. Lockwood. You can get more information at the website, but here are the basic ticket prices: OysterFest admission is $5 for CBMM adult members, or $18 for non-member adults; $15 for seniors and students with ID; and $6 for children ages 6 to 17.

There is that old saying that oysters should only be eaten in months that contain the letter “R” – September through April. Now, because of oyster farms in cold waters and modern refrigeration, it’s safe to eat oysters raw anytime. Nowadays we don’t eat them in “R” months because oysters spawn during warmer weather and just don’t taste good. Oysters generally taste better in the late fall and early winter months because at this point of the oyster’s life cycle it is richer and plumper. And here we are, right next to the Chesapeake Bay; pretty lucky not to be in Iowa.

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
-Ernest Hemingway

Oyster Rules
Make sure they smell good.
Make sure they’re cold.
If you’ve never tried one, have your first one naked.
Slurp, then chew!
Don’t pour out the liquor – it is full of briny flavor.
Don’t put the shell back on the ice tray.

We think anything cooked with bacon is worth trying. Perhaps you should try fried oysters:

Chesapeake Oyster Loaf:

To encourage and whet your appetite: Oyster shell crafts!

Oyster shell chandelier:

Oyster shell salt and pepper cellars:

Oyster shell dish – where would we be without Martha?

Fun facts to know and tell about oysters:

“It should be opened at street temperature in a cool month, never iced, and plucked from its rough irregular shell at once, so that its black gills still vibrate and cringe with the shock of the air upon them. It should be swallowed, not too fast, and then its fine salt juices, more like the smell of rock pools at low tide than any other food in the world, should be drunk at one gulp from the shell. Then, of course, a bite or two of buttered brown bread must follow, better to stimulate the papilles…and then, of course, of course, a fine mouthful of a white wine.”
-M.F.K. Fisher

And a good, long read from Calvin Trillin:

Have a great weekend!

“‘O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter, You’ve had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?’ But answer came there none – And this was scarcely odd, because They’d eaten every one.”
-Lewis Carroll

About Jean Sanders

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