Friday, September 10, 2010

Yabbies, oysters and nostalgia

Just at present, I seem to be susceptible to attacks of nostalgia.

One of the searches that brought a visitor to this blog was on yabbies. Nostalgia attacked.

I wonder how many New England people have been yabbying in dams or creeks with a bit of meat on the end of a string? Quite a few, I suspect.

The problem with this approach is that you don't get enough for a feed. Also, when we first started to do this, we didn't know how to cook them. So it was all about the hunt.

Far more satisfying was the approach adopted by my uncle. Half a 44 gallon drum with holes poked into the bottom was dropped in the dam with bait inside. After a little while, we pulled it up. This got lots of yabbies, enough for a full feed cooked by my aunt.

Then this got me thinking of oysters.

I was a kid before the coastal population really exploded, when it was possible to walk along a breakwater and open oysters. They were always gritty (we usually broke the shells) and salty, but I acquired a real taste for them that I still have. My wife and daughters, by contrast, dislike oysters.

As part of my historical research, I have been re-reading some of Isabel McBryde's archeological reports on New England, including the dig at on the shell midden at Wombah near the mouth of the Clarence. There were thousands of these middens scattered along the North Coast.

In her Wombah report, Isabel thanks us by name for putting up with difficult conditions. You know, I don't remember these. I just remember the fun!

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