Scenes from an Oyster Roast
By Robin Gibson
The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster. -- David Hume
Scottish philosopher David Hume was right when it comes to the oyster's popularity in the Lowcountry. Winter brings with it the time-honored tradition of communal gatherings centered around the shellfish known as The Oyster Roast. This ritual is as iconic to the region as the smell of pluff mud is to our noses. And for the 34th year, the Granddaddy of them all, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival sponsored by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association took place January 27, 2017, at Boone Hall Plantation. From the tailgating atmosphere to the dedicated shell recycling, these pictures tell the story of an ardent love affair and obsession with the all-important oyster.
Shell recycling is an important part of the oyster's life cycle. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources manages a shell recycling program whereby shells are reintroduced to salt water to improve the natural habitat. To learn more about the program and its environmental benefits, visit their website.
'Tis the season for bivalve fans everywhere to pony up to a table with a hole in it and feast upon their favorite saltwater delicacy: oysters. South Carolina is rife with traditions but perhaps the most revered is the Oyster Roast, which dominates the winter social scene. Any given weekend finds you choosing between several and asking if knives are included or if you should you bring your own. Communal and almost spiritual in nature, the ritual is welcoming, lacks pretense, and truly southern. We are all equals in the eyes of the shells. With or without hot sauce? Definitely, with...and don't forget the cracker.
Images taken at Folly Beach, Charleston Visitor's Center & Bus Shed, and world-famous Bowen's Island | Robin Gibson Copyright (c) 2016