I’m the first to admit that I prefer the brinier East Coast oysters of the R months, if for no other reason than that’s what I grew up with. But, as Presilla noted, the plump, meaty oysters from Plaquemines that we ate on Saturday “beg to be cooked and sauced.” We ordered several dozen, both cooked and raw, tossing them back with champagne. (The best I had were the wood-fired ones at Cochon.) Wistfully, we snapped cellphone photos of what might well be among the last Gulf Coast oysters for a while. We walked back to the hotel in the rain.
I don’t get to the Gulf Coast often, but no food writer can ignore the bountiful cornucopia of the New Orleans table. There’s noplace else in the world quite like the Crescent City, with its Creole and Cajun cultures, its sultry weather, its magnificent architecture, its self-proclaimed decadence. Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and Friday at Galatoire’s are no more excessive than an ordinary meal in New Orleans. Mounds of beans and rice, sweetbreads, vegetables swimming in hollandaise and oysters Rockefeller are mere side dishes or appetizers. Courses that follow are stuffed with crabmeat, garnished with crawfish and invariably sauced, followed by gumbo, jambalaya or fried soft-shell crabs with sauce Choron.
I would mock “bountiful cornucopia of life,” really, I would, except this piece is really, really good. See, it’s about the oil spill, and the Gulf coast food culture, and how we are all involved. And even a bit about how we are myopic and haven’t noticed the huge spills in other places, like the Niger delta, but only notice it when it cuts off our access to things we love—like juicy fresh oysters.
So, all purple prose is forgiven. Read it. Please.