In my present state of financial stability and observing the average way of life for families since I moved away from my own, I have come to realize that I grew up relatively poor. Not “No-Food-in-the-Fridge” poor, but maybe “Hide-the-Tupperware-the-Creditors-are-Coming” poor. Fresh meat was scarce in my trailer, but Spam was not. When that ran out, it was mayonnaise and cheese sandwiche. When the cheese ran out it was balled up slices of Wonder Bread. When the bread ran out I’d suck on dry spaghetti sticks.
SIDE NOTE: Now, before my mom gets all defensive, I had a happy childhood in Montgomery, Texas. What I’m saying is that most people my age have never gone from living in a tin shed to a mobile home back to the shed again let alone ever used an outhouse out of necessity.
Okay, so the reason I’m telling you this is because of my lack of Epicurean experience during my childhood. Now, years later, I live with a man for whom I broke my rule about autograph seeking because it was THE Anthony Bourdain. So tonight, my personal chef isn’t home and there I am staring at mayonnaise and cheese and bread thinking, “I’ve come all this way for this?” That’s when I remember the smoked oysters that were awaiting me.
As a child, smoked oysters were a delicacy afforded to us on very rare occasions. Hey, four tins, a box of Club crackers, Pepsi and cheese don’t come cheap. The rarity of these aforementioned items in my household made them taste so much better. I can still picture my dad cutting cheese slices and arranging the oysters on little plates and dishing out dollops of mustard before we all dug in to our treat. So, it’s not just the taste that I like, it’s also the memory. Every once in a while, I get a hankering to eat this meal or maybe to be 8 years old again.
So tonight I got home late and hungry without a meal and recall these oysters are in my cupboard. Alas, I had no cheese or crackers, but I did have mustard. I peeled open the tin, drained the oil, dumped them on a plate and squirted mustard all over them. The smell of these things is potent, so naturally Paquita was intrigued. I was eating whilst standing and Paquita stood on her hind legs as tall as her little body would allow. She sniffed the air wildly trying to see what was on my plate. She desperately wanted whatever it was. I cut off a piece of one for her and asked her, “Do you like oysters?” Paquita excitedly answered with, “Yip!” As a reward for her answer, I handed over the oyster. Instead of excitedly gobbling it down like she does with all her human food treats, she sniffed it intently eyes bulging and fixated on the prize. Impatiently, I put it on the rug for her to eat at her leisure.
What did she do instead of eating it? She started rubbing her face and body over it the way dogs do with decomposing carcasses or the feces of plant eating animals!
Smoked oysters are disgusting and I need a book like “Food for Dummies”!