One of the advantages of living on or near a military base are the fun programs they offer for families. Tonight we went to an Oyster Roast at Laurel Bay and it was fabulous! The community center is right by the water, and as we arrived there we were lucky enough to see the brilliant orange and pink sunset through the mossy oak trees reflecting off the water. It was absolutely beautiful.
Amelia, of course, was not too interested in fresh hot oysters. She had a few bites of hotdog and some crackers and then played with the other kids. But Mom and I dug in! We brought our own oyster knives and towels (a custom down here that I learned the hard way - by forgetting them at the first oyster roast I went to). They roast the oysters in big mesh metal boxes, then dump them out in big piles onto the middle of the tables. There are buckets by the sides of the tables for the oyster shells, and you start opening them up and popping them into your mouth as quickly as you can, tossing the shells into the buckets to be saved and returned to the marsh. We had sleeves of saltine crackers, squeeze bottles of tabasco and cocktail sauce and lemons on the tables. The oysters down here come clustered together in big chunks, so you could grab one cluster and end up with 6-7 oysters sometimes. You just keep turning the cluster around and opening up more shells.
Off to the side, someone was manning Frogmore Stew - basically crab boil or seafood seasoning (like Old Bay) with cob corn, shell on shrimp, potato chunks and sausage. The original Frogmore Plantation is not too far from here on St Helena Island. We missed the local Gullah festival this weekend as Olivia really needed to stay home and rest, as did all of us after the last few weeks.
I wish I had pictures, but I was way too busy eating! By the time we were done, we had a 2 gallon bucket full of oyster shells.