A referral and personal invite from a lovely lass in Wifey's office who calls the uber-cool burg of Frederick, Oklahoma her home town, found the family unit and I spending a fall-like February day consumed by (and later consuming) mass quantities of bivalve mollusks fresh from the gulf coast.
It was Oyster Fry time in Frederick.
I know what you're thinking and I know that look that crept across your face as I strung together fresh seafood and Oklahoma in the same sentence. It's the same look I get whenever we're sitting at a sushi bar in the city and the chef assures us that the fatty tuna is fresh, fresh, fresh -- saying it three times in a row in a charming attempt to assuage our fears of nematode laden raw fish.
But some casual fryer-side questioning of the man who oversees the transport of the raw oysters from the gulf coast fishing docks to the Frederick community center kitchen in a matter of hours put my mind at ease.
As did the first, second, fifth, seventh, (uggh), and twelfth bites of fresh, raw, ice cold oysters, dabbled with tabasco and a squooge of lemon juice, with nary of hint of fishiness or aquarium essence to be found.
And while freshness is no guarantee of a roundworm free dining experience, I made sure to down a half-dozen of the cracker-breading fried shellfish wonders for good measure.
This being an Oklahoma culinary institution, the brimming platter of fundraising comestibles included a generous scoop of coleslaw, a handfull of Ruffles, some fresh from the can S.E. Rykoff green beans, water and/or tea, all topped off with a squeezable slice of Wonder bread.
Someone down Frederick way also came up with a red sauce that was the perfect blend of smooth, bite, sweet, and Cajun sassy-ness that they were more than generous handing out for oyster dipping madness.
While the ratio of fried to raw eaters was somewhere in the 80:20 range, those whom I observed were joining me in the partaking of the raw gems seemed to be imbibing with gusto. Although admittedly, the joy of grossing out fried-only oyster eaters with every uncooked bite/chew/and swallow is almost as enjoyable as eating the little slippery suckers themselves.
A craft show, art exhibit and personally guided tour of the charming historic downtown district topped off the day and kept us burping oysters into the crisp southwest Oklahoma afternoon.
Wifey ate and enjoyed her first oysters. C did as well. One. PK liked poking the raw ones.
Thanks for the day, LB.