The Watering Hole: September 29 – Oysters

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments.

I had a bit of a setback today as I cut my hand while shucking fresh oysters.  The modern way to shuck the things is to use a towel. When I was 8 years old, I worked in a German Restaurant in Baltimore where oysters on the half shell were on the menu. I was issued a lapboard with a vee shaped holding dam and a one inch hole in the center for the actual shucking. A bucket caught the results. Prior to sitting down for work, each of the shuckers was given a bushel of oysters to separate and clean. If business was brisk, additional bushels would be cleaned and separated as the evening wore on.

When we would go to Market for the Thanksgiving feast, mom would yell out “Butch, make sure that your father does not get the dead oysters – they are horrid!” (Butch was the my family name as I was named after Dad who never could learn to shuck an oyster or clean crustaceans or  fish.)

In this modern age, one is encouraged to use a towel to hold the oyster during the process. In any case, the place to attack the beast is at the hinge. Here is a video of the modern technique:

I use an oyster board that is based on the design of one that my Grandfather taught me to use in the 40’s. It is the design shown on the right


In either case, the oyster knife is of the same style as was used in the demo video. Back when I was a boy, this was called a Boston Knife. It was very popular in the forty’s and fifty s because the Bay Knife, as in Chesapeake Bay, had a very sharp point and actually was less effective in shucking oysters and led to more as well as more severe wounds. The modern broad shucking knives are next to useless.  To make a long story short, I passed on separating the oysters before shucking them today. Not a very good way to start the week, but chicken dressing with fresh shucked oysters is worlds above the same with the long dead ones, even with the “red sauce”.

60 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: September 29 – Oysters

  1. Mmm oysters…. mind you my two worst bouts with foodpoisoning were oysters – Kowloon and Puget Sound varieties. The French ones never gave me trouble at all.

    Lightly breaded, baked in the shell with some garlic butter and a touch of bacon on top…

  2. Sorry to hear you hurt your hand, Walt.

    I’ve never tried oysters. Terry’s way sounds plausible for a first attempt. But as long as I’m offered a familiar alternative, I’d probably never risk it.

  3. HoR and TtT,
    I’ve been eating the things for about 60 years. My spouse prefers clams, but will eat fried oysters. The wounds are healing quite nicely. I had a safe string for the last 20 years – the slip was due to impatience because I was running about three or four minutes late in putting things in the oven.

  4. Good Morning All,

    Here’s a few contest winners from the Washington Post. Some I thought funny enough to share. I hope you haven’t seen these before.

    bozone (n): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, infortunately, shows little signs of breaking down in the near future.

    Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
    person who doesn’t get it.

    Ignoranus (n): A person who’s stupid AND an asshole.

    o.k. enough of the TP troll reference. There were also some fun ones like:

    Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your
    bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

    Well, I’m too busy today – or will be. See you all later.

  5. That was pretty funny, Rich. Drop back by later when you get the chance.

    I’m tackling a 100 year event today: I’m REALLY cleaning my bathtub. The weather is perfect for having open windows so I can use the stuff that creates fumes and requires rubber gloves!

  6. Zooey,
    I started with CLR, which required the gloves. Then I used Lysol Basin Tub and Tile Cleaner with one of those sponge mops that fold the sponge together from the Family Dollar. That’s on a fiberglass tub. The Lysol doesn’t require gloves, but the mist is tough to breathe. The mop gives me leverage to scrub harder, with the less abrasive sponge. I’ve tried the “Scrubbing Bubbles” brand, but it doesn’t cut the thicker soap scum very well.

  7. “private insurance can’t compete with government”

    Why this argument, which has been heard several times before, doesn’t get played-up by the Dems…..o that’s right…. because the Dems are in the majority, there’s no point having them on the TV-machine as often as the Republicants, because the demoncrats are all partisan and such…. and when they do get invited on they get asked about how socialist they are ( and the Donkeys are dumb enough to answer the stupid question instead of shooting down the Republicants—except for Howard Dean of course, he knows what he’s doing.

  8. houseofroberts, Zooey

    my main water pipes are about 100 years old and a great source of iron :D. I end up with Seuessian pink stains in my enamel/iron tub.

    After many experiments I’ve found Softscrub works pretty well, but the biggest help is my Crate and Barrel toilet brush which has very stiff bristles in a sort of bullrush shape (like a domed tube structure).
    It gives me a good reach and good maneuverability, and the omni-directional bristles work really well on the tile grout too.

  9. Zoeey,

    Schumer told Rachel Maddow the other night that his amendment was more likely to pass than–I forget who his fellow Dem had an amendment too, precisely because Schumer’s was the weaker one.

    I’ve always thought Schumer to be centrist Dem for the most part, always walking the fence between his own interests, his lobbyists and the party line. Just mediocre all the way around.

    Well he’s just been proven totally fucking wrong about his optimism–what a shock! I’m afraid Obama’s touchy-feely let’s be friends empowered the spineless Dems like Schumer and the BlueDogs especially to dismantle this most significant policy. .

    • I’m just sick of the whole debate. I think I need to stop investing so much optimism, hope, or even thought about the issue. I think the best we can hope for at this point, is that more and more Americans go bankrupt and lose absolutely everything — that way maybe they’ll stop voting for these bastards and against their own interests. Maybe things will get so fucking bad that in sheer desperation for the health and security of this country, the government will enact single payer. Of course, by then it will be far too late, and we will complete our slide into being a third world country, and the Phyllis Schlaflys and Rush Limbaughs finally will be happy.

      Do I sound bitter?

      • BTW 5th, it seems the last of the Supersizers episodes will be here on 10/18 — unless more materialize between now and then.

        Do you have an idea of another serial? I like the food-related serials, but I’m certainly open-minded on the subject.

  10. Just flying over with a handy hint on shower/tub cleaning…Gonna pass on the political crap today and just say, FLUSH all the bad one’s in DC.

    We have very bad water here, showers and all fixtures get a terrible brown stain, like mud..The only thing that works is Clorox toilet bowl cleaner/with bleach..Kind of pricy but worth it…Get one of those little spunge’s with the scratchie side, rinse down the shower/tub and sponge..Pour some cleaner on the sponge side and wipe all over the shower/tub, what ever…Let sit for 15 minutes..Use the scratchie side and go after the stain’s lightly…Rinse. Wala…I have a fiberglass or plastic type tub/shower but this works on the toilet by squirting the liquid from the bottle and using the toilet bowl brush and also on my kitchen stainless sink with a different sponge ofcourse…LOL….Happy cleaning..Blessings

  11. I went to the local hardware store and picked up a box of 3M Scotchbrite pads, medium grit. Using the Softscrub with bleach I can now almost clean the tub as well as I used to with a rag and powdered Comet cleanser.

    Walt, I always use a leather glove on my left hand when shucking oysters.

    • Ok, here’s my hard water tub cleaning technique:

      Let the shower dry for 2 days, if possible. Grab your old credit card — the one you’ve been saving just for this purpose — and scrape off the hard water scales and accompanying soap scum. Vacuum out the piles of flakes. Spray on this nasty smelling stuff called “Ka-boom,” and let it sit for a while. It seems to melt the remains pretty well. Scrub with a green scotch brite pad. If you’re lucky, that will take off the remaining stains. If you’re not, just close the shower curtain and sigh.

  12. House, if you ever get the chance go down to the mouth of the Appalachicola River and pick up some of their oysters, fresh from the boat. Best I’ve ever had.

  13. Zooey, thanks for the heads-up on the Supersizers.

    To find another food-based series as clever and interesting as SS doesn’t seem likely to me, BUT I could ‘collate’ something food-themed using otherwise unrelated videos….

    or NOT food-themed, but collated unrelated around some other theme,

    OR I could find something that is a clever and entertaining series, but NOt food themed.

    You can bet that whatever I do it;s going to probaly be British, and hopefully therefore not familiar to most of the critters—because that’s the way I roll. baby!

    Funny and smart are the main criteria, yes?
    I’ll go exploring some ideas and see where the series of tubes takes me. and I;ll put together a ‘programme’ for your approval and or suggestions. .

    sound okay?

  14. Brown stains are usually from iron oxides. A mild solution of oxalic acid usually makes it vanish like magic, no scrubbing required. Even works on tile grout. There are products on the market, Snow Cap and Rust Aid come to mind, that can be used to make a mild solution. Look in Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Lowe’s for them.

  15. hoodathunk,
    I have almost always used an equivalent of the Capco 3710 Oyster Knife, even back to when I was 8. The narrow blade which does not have a really sharp point opens oysters in a snap (better leverage). It is the same knife used in the film clip.The time prior to this when I nicked myself, I was using one of those knives that have a stubby sharp blade. This time, I bypassed separating the oysters that were cemented together in order to save a minute or two. In our house, I try to have dinner ready within 30 seconds of the proscribed time.

  16. Walt, I have always preferred the longer, slim blade of the old style of oyster knives. I wear the leather glove because its easier to hold the oyster (they are really rather sharp) and I am a soft handed wussy.

  17. Premiere of the Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News has Bay Buchanan and Janeane Garofalo joining Joy in the leadoff segment to talk about the Palin book deal. Looks like this is going to be an adversarial talk show “about watercooler issues”.

  18. This is pretty good now, they are discussing the “Kill Obama” Facebook poll. Buchanan is in denial that the teabaggers are the same 20-25 % that supported Bush no matter what. Buchanan wants to make it sound like the demonstrators are centrist Obama voters now disenchanted with his policies. Garofalo is refuting her talking points now.

    After the second break, Joy and a new guest are on Jon and Kate Plus 8, Minus Jon. Then another break and new guests are discussing the Polanski extradition.

    With so much papparrazi stories, this won’t impact Larry King, or Rachel Maddow.

  19. Hi – just thought I would stop by. I’ve become very pessimistic about politics lately. If the Democrats don’t pass a bill with a public option, then I’m out of the party. As a matter of fact, I closed my PA for change blog as I will now be focusing my energies on providing healthy options to the current medical system. Why is it that expensive drugs, expensive tests (MRI’s) and expensive surgery are almost always the first things offered by a doctor when cheaper alternative therapies may solve the issue that brings a person to the doctor’s office? Our whole health care system is f**ked up. It is ass backwards.

    5th – sounds like a good idea.

  20. Cats,
    You mean you’re not going to stick around and work to kick Specter out of the Democratic Party in 2010? Even just for old times’ sake?

  21. hoodathunk,
    I do not use gloves because I have size 15 hands. I have to cut out the finger tips and thumb tips of XXLarge ones in order to use them.

  22. More for Cats (and anybody else who’s getting discouraged),

    It has taken until now to lay bare the true motives of several Senators that call themselves Democrats. They were able to hide in the minority until recently. I’m in Alabama, so I have no viable races to work for candidates locally. The next several elections are going to be spent helping primary challengers in other states, now that we know who to target. Nobody thought this was over, once the Democrats got the majorities. Not with the likes of Limbought and Beck out there on 90% of talk radio. If we can’t prevent how much money corporations contribute, maybe it would be legal to limit WHEN they can give it. There’s always a way. All it takes is creative thinking.

    In the immortal words of Captain Jason Nesmith:
    NEVER give up! NEVER surrender!

    • House, I think it’s not so much giving up as it is going around the fuckers.

      If they can’t get the bare minimum done to help the American people — even those who are stupid enough to fall for that teabagger shit — then we know they are not interested in representing us. They are interested in keeping their cushy jobs and lobbyist money.

      Hell, it’s not the Dems or the Rs who need to “take back” the country. IT’S US!

    • You know, it occurs to me that Max Baucus could have voted FOR the Rockefeller & Shumer amendments today, and they still would have failed. So he had the option of some degree ass-saving, but still chose to vote no.

      His masters in the insurance company probably told him what they expected to hear from him — and he complied.

  23. My brother in law has worked for Burger King for nearly twenty years, doing about those same hours. He cleans the broiler and does the other prep work for breakfast and lunch. He probably makes almost as much as shift managers start out.
    I imagine there is a lot of prep work, making pre-packaged stuff for the counter, like salads.

    We have to find this Colbert clip on Youtube! It’s the perfect follow-up for that ignorant redneck complaining about his dip that 5th linked us to yesterday!

  24. It doesn’t matter what is in the committee sponsored bills, there will be all kinds of amendments on the floor of the House and the Senate. The same ones that fail in the committee could pass on the floor or get added in the conference commitee, as long as they are in one bill that passes, like the House final version. As long as the public option clears the House, it is still alive. I’d rather have it in, and the bill not pass, than get a mandate to buy insurance with no option for a non-profit choice.

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