I like to read and do so most every evening, usually at bedtime, in bed. Time was when I could read two maybe three hours before calling it a day. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I get twenty minutes in before the Sandman comes around and drops the book on my chest.
At the present time, I’m nearly though a mystery/thriller novel titled Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke. The protagonist, a fella by the name of Dave Robicheaux, works for the New Iberia, Louisiana Sheriff’s department and along with his sidekick, Clete Purcell , are quite the entertaining characters. How people like James Lee Burke spin such fascinating yarns both inspires and depresses a wannbe writer such as myself. But that’s not my point today.
In last night’s chapter, Dave and his wife go fishing for crappie out of a flat bottom boat in the bayou. Seems that his wife has packed them a few snacks for their time on the water, among which are fried oyster sandwiches. Now, I’ve never tasted a fried oyster sandwich, but it sounded interesting. The last time I’d slurped a few of the slime balls was in an open air bar on South Padre Island, Texas. You bought ‘em on the half shell, a dozen at a time. Or a half dozen if you wanted to be wimpy about it. The weather was perfect with a slight breeze coming in off the Gulf carrying all those smells that you get around the coastal water, completely foreign to an Okie. The waitress was a cute little thing, having just arrived from Baton Rouge, and with an accent so heavy you could weigh it on the scales. Now eatin’ oysters off the half shell is not for the faint of heart and in no way should be attempted without fortification from a few spookers. Let’s just say that on this occasion, I was well prepared.
But a fried oyster sandwich? I had to try it. I suppose that somewhere in Tulsa, one can buy oysters on the half shell, but for this experiment, and knowing full well it wouldn’t be the same as fresh oysters, I opted for a can of ‘em from the shelf of the local Wal-Mart. Dave’s wife didn’t reveal her recipe in the book, but I was confident the Internet would share the secret. Sho nuff. All you had to do was drain ‘em, soak ‘em in a couple beaten eggs, roll ‘em in bread crumbs, add salt and pepper, and drop ‘em in the skillet. Did I mention that I’m quite talented at cracking eggs? Learned the skill in the good ‘ol U.S. N., the United States Navy. I could grab two eggs with both hands, crack all four of them, and drop ‘em on a sizzling grill before you could scratch an itch on your behind. But I digress.
To be honest, my concoction didn’t look all that appetizing. A spooker was in order, maybe a couple. But once those little jewels hit the hot oil, Oh Mama! My delight with my culinary excellence caught the attention of the Missus who was watching yet another Spencer Tracy movie in the bedroom.
“What’s that smell?”
“Oysters. Want some?”
“Yech. Shut the door.”
Expecting the response, I giggled. All for me. I tossed those babies down like hot buttered popcorn, savoring the moment.
There was no Gulf breeze, nor any waitresses in tight fitting jeans, and yes, the oysters did come from a can, but for Oklahoma in December, it wasn’t all that bad, Baby. Go ahead. Try it. I double dog dare ya.