Oysters, guilt-free food

Raw Oyster
delicious raw oyster I picked off the beach

I recently spent some vacation time on the waters of Hood Canal in Washington State. Hood Canal is a long, narrow fjord with a crook shaped end called The Great Bend. That’s where I was. In the land of oysters.

When I was small I spent a lot of time in the waters of the nearby Puget Sound where I grew up. Hours passed quickly in the salt water swimming with my sister. We should have gills. There was so much to do! We were slaves to a minus tide, which offered a sandbar for barefoot play. The giant rock adjacent to our bulkhead was treated as base camp for landing and leaping. And of course there was the time honored tradition of carefully adorning ourselves with seaweed to create monstrous medusa costumes that could be worn on the beaches and swing sets of Lowman Park.

My dad likes to live on the water. Not across the street from the water. Not within “walking distance” of the water. Not upstairs from the water. On the water. He wants to step out of his back door and onto the beach. Lucky me. The Husband and I can do the same when staying with him on Hood Canal.

When the tide goes out the beach is littered with oysters. You can walk the shoreline collecting mollusks to your heart’s content. This can take some time as I have a big heart. During our trip we undertook multiple collection excursions which resulted in delicious sunset dinners. One afternoon was spent standing a few feet off the shore in the shallow water with an oyster shucker in one hand and a protective glove in the other, eating oysters right out of the water. They are VERY salty when you do this. Or at least ours were. A later batch was set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and shucked at the dinner table.

Shucking oysters makes for a leisurely meal. You need to pry them open at the hinge one by one. (Use a special knife for this, save your manicure!) At the end of a meal by the sea the shells aren’t tossed into the trash. They are returned to the water so they can serve as landing places for baby oysters to mature. High in protein, low in fat, and containing zero carbs oysters are a virtually guilt-free food. And they never leave you feeling bloated. They go great with a dry, pink, sparkling wine and good company. A win-win food experience.


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