Happy New Year!
We rang in 2009 by attending a family oyster roast at my grandmother’s house in Columbus County, Nawth Caralina. Columbus County is in fact the only county in the whole entire US of A named after the famed lost explorer. So there. You have a new fun fact to throw in at your next cocktail party.
I’m only here to share the wealth of knowledge.
I hope you like seafood because if you don’t, I’m not entirely sure these photos will convert you. Admittedly, seafood is not the most visually appealing food, but it is tasty. And it requires a “hands on / all hands on deck / any hand extremity related cliches” approach.
The term oyster roast, as best I can figure, stems from the days of yore when folks used to dig a big pit, often on the beach, throw in some coals and then place the oysters directly on the heat source to cook them. Along the way, someone figured out that steaming them is a heck of a lot easier than digging a big hole in the ground. But the name sure stuck and today folks in the low country still call it an oyster roast, even though by all technical accounts oysters are more often than not, steamed.
And then hacked open with tiny daggers.
And then gobbled down with homemade cocktail sauce or squeeze of lemon, if that suits your fancy.
Oysters have long been considered a delicacy. When roasted, they have a slightly salty taste and a moderately fleshy texture. Despite their appearance, oysters do not feel slimy at all. Unless eaten on the half shell. (In which case, well duh, what did you expect.)
Either way these mollusks draw a definitive line in the sand: Ya either love ’em or hate ’em.
After cooking enough oysters to feed a small Roman Army, we headed inside to watch the ball drop in NYC’s Times Square, followed by a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne. A song, which cannot possibly be understood sober, much less after consuming several celebratory drinks. I even googled the lyrics to this old folk tune, in part for this post, and in part as a determined effort to learn this song once and for all. But that attempt only left me with a big WTF expression on my face (sorry, parental units. But I gotta be real here.)
Nonetheless, we clumsily chimed in on the first and last lines of the song, mumbled our way through the middle like everyone else in the world (except the Scots) and ended it with a big Happy New Year! So mission accomplished.
New Year’s Day began with you guessed it, more eats! Our celebratory feast included black eyed peas (to bring good luck) served with rice, a dish commonly referred to as Hoppin’ John in the dirty South. Also served were collard greens (for financial prosperity) cooked with ham hock (for, ironically enough, good health.)
At the risk of permanently ostracizing myself from the South (and lest we forget, possible financial ruin) I must confess I do not par take in the bitter collard greens. No siree. No ma’am.
I do not like green collards and ham, Sam I am.
I will not eat them in a house.
I will not eat them with a mouse.
I will not eat them here or there.
I will not eat them anywhere!
You get the point.
But that’s OK, because it left more for Brittany, who loves her some collards greens. To the point that my parents’ told her when she was little, and dependent upon them for truth and honesty and sustenance, (you know, little things like that,) that all greens were collards. And so little Brittany would literally scarf down my parents’ lies, while I shook my head in shame at this monstrosity. But do not fret dear readers! Brittany survived, to only be slightly embarrassed at this story.
That was told, like 100 times in the course of 48 hours.
In front of her boyfriend no less.
And now I’m posting it on the intrawebs.
Good times 🙂
She’s a tough one, that Brittany. Maybe it was the spinach or were they collards?….but I digress.
Surely you didn’t think that was the only food we had did you?
Silly readers! Portion control is for wimps!
My uncle Dick also made a mean vegetarian chili.
Granted, I realize that last sentence is arguably an oxymoron. But seriously this chili was.that.good. And once I get the recipe I promise to post it. Girl Scouts honor. (or something, I don’t know. I didn’t get into girl scouts. But it sounds honest, so in the meantime I’ll just borrow this phrase.)
So we ate. We visited. We conquered the couch.
And then we headed home where we had some super cute visitors until Saturday.
Joe is teaching Bennett the fine art of carpentry skills. I plan on employing these laddies to remodel my house once they hit their physical prime of oh, about 19. And since I will be their elder and a relative, I can get away with paying them menial wages.
And that sums up our end to 2008 and the beginning to 2009.
2008 was monumental for us, for which we are very thankful and blessed.
But it also left us a little tired.
So here is to a healthy, relaxed, tasty, prosperous and FUN 2009!