Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lowcountry Oysters: Not Just for the Birds! But also for the Birds!

American Oystercatchers -- Intracoastal Waterway -- May 2008

        Cool weather is frisky weather.  Some of my fondest childhood memories include the frisky night chill of the neighborhood oyster roasts that my brothers and I enjoyed in our backyard on Schooner Creek (James Island, SC).  As kids, we would run around and play chase while the adults slurped down the oysters that my father and friends had gathered from the creeks earlier in the afternoon, and that they then roasted over an open pit fire.  Once we were well-winded, we would join the adults around the table and eat the delicious Lowcountry pluff mud grown oysters.

       As an adult, the feel and smell of the cool, damp air over our salt marsh triggers these nostalgic memories for me.  And so it is with great anticipation that I await Charleston Audubon's Annual Holiday Party & Oyster Roast at Bowen's Island each year.  And since the event is always close to my brother's birthday, I happily invite him and Mom to join in the fun.  Though we are too old to play chase anymore, we enjoy the crisp outdoor air, the smell of the pluff mud, the camaraderie with family and friends, the spectacular sunset and the devine taste of Lowcountry oysters. 

Lowcountry oysters!

Until I had moved to Texas as a graduate student, I did not know that oysters from elsewhere could taste differently.  What a shock for my tastebuds, to order oysters in a restaurant and to be so disappointed in the flavor!  Too put it mildly, those Gulf Coast oysters are simply inferior.  And yet, that is what you find largely, even in many of our Lowcountry restaurants now.  I had tasted oysters from New Jersey and France also.  They actually do have some flavor thanks to the saltiness of the Atlantic Ocean waters.  But nothing can match the rich flavor of the oysters from our pluff mud!

       The Charleston Audubon Society (aka. Charleston Natural History Society) uses the oyster roast as a fundraiser.  So, though oysters are not just for American Oystercatchers and Boat-Tailed Grackles, but for birds and wildlife, in general. 

This American Oystercatcher slurping mussels -- October 2008 -- Pitt Street -- Photo received Honorable Mention in the SC Wildlife Magazine 2009 contest

And for us, YUM!  Pre-paid ($20) tickets can be purchased by mailing in your check and the form available on our link (above) for the December 11 event.  Or, you can pay $25 at the door.  The event goes from 2 pm to 5 pm.  We are offering both vegetarian and regular chili (several varieties), cornbread and desserts for those who do not like oysters.  There will also be a silent auction, live music and dancing.  And with a fishing license, you can fish from the dock! 

A happy Brother Jimmy slurping oysters!

         Robert Barber, owner of Bowen's Island generously donates the use of his oyster dock to us for our roast.  And if you have never been to Bowen's Island, hmmm....  Well it is a true Lowcountry cultural experience that should not be missed.  This is where locals go to be local.  This is where a binya can show a comya how we live (see explanation of binya and comya reference here).

Bowen's Island  -- December 2009

        More photos from past Charleston Audubon Annual Holiday Party and Fundraising Oyster Roasts follow to further entice you to come and join in the fun!
Two Steves and Melissa -- members of Charleston Audubon enjoying the camaraderie and the views -- December 2009

A Foggy view at the December 2009 event!

Dennis and Joe -- December 2009
Cornelia, Paul & Andy -- December 2009
Joe leaves our mark on a newly rebuilt Bowen's Island dock -- post fire!  -- Signing walls:  A Bowen's Island tradition -- December 2009

Ring-Billed Gull -- Bowen's Island -- December 2007
A Bowen's Island sunset -- December 2007

No comments:

Post a Comment