Anyone who knows me well know that I have a strong emotional connection to a very weird comfort food. Not just weird, but by most people's standards, disgusting. Most of my friends have never even dared to try it, but one friend gagged when she did! And the thing is, I get it. For most people it smells gross and looks gross.
Blog readers, I'd like to introduce you to my beloved oyster stew.
Apparently there is some sort of fancy oyster stew out there made with real cream and served at fancy restaurants. But that is not this oyster stew. This oyster stew has 4 ingredients, 2 of which come in the same can.
Backstory: When I was a kid I have a distinct memory of my grandparents and great-grandparents sitting around the dinner table all of the slurping on some sort of yellow-milky broth with these weird grey and green things floating around. I was both disgusted and intrigued. I asked to try it and I didn't like it. But for some reason I wanted to like it. So I kept trying it...until I liked it. And then one day I loved it. I didn't have it for several years until I asked my grandmother to show me how to make it back when I was in high school. It's been a main stay in my life ever since!
Lucky you, I'm going to share the recipe with you now! Probably the only thing you would need to buy is a can of whole oysters from the grocery store (by the canned tuna). Everything else you definitely have on hand.
milk (i just eyeball it, but probably 1.5 cups)
I can whole oysters
oyster juice strained from the canned oysters
saltine or oyster crackers (optional, but you want these)
In small to medium sized sauce pan melt 1-2 tlb.s butter until melted and slightly bubbly. Add oysters and let them sauté for 1-2 minutes. You don't want anything burning or getting too hot. Add milk and most of the oyster juice. (sometimes there is a little sediment/shell from the oysters at the bottom of the bowl, so I add all the juice until I get to that part). Heat until warmed through and voila!
I'm not sure why I wanted to like oyster stew so badly, especially as a kid! I'm not sure I've ever experience that sensation of not liking a food, but wanting to like it, and more making myself like it. Perhaps it's the fact that I have always felt like I wanted to like something that only the adults liked, or maybe I saw it as another tie to a bygone era that I just wanted to be a part of... I'm pretty sure I saw this as depression era food and for some reason wanted in on that. (I also used to steal my grandparents cassette tapes with hits from the 1940's and record old black and white movies from their oldies TV channel.) But whatever the reason, I really, really love it. This is one of my favorite meals of all time and is probably my most comfortable comfort food.
At the same time, I totally get why it skeezes other people out. It kinda smells up the whole house, it's a strange salty/milky/buttery flavor that also happens to have large chunks of chewy grayish seafood floating around. Mmmmmm. In fact one time in college my oyster stew played a starring role in a prank war some friends of mine were involved in. Another girl and I asked some guys out on what was supposed to be a date night from hell sort of thing (that was the prank part of it...but the guys didn't know it because they didn't know who I was) and the friends who put me up to it had me make oyster stew for the horrible meal on our horrible date. Ha! Needless to say I gobbled it up while everyone looked on in disgust.
So I'm curious, anyone else have a really weird comfort food that no one else gets? Is there something you make or a particular grocery item you buy that makes the rest of your family shudder? Do you think having a sentimental attachment makes it taste even better? Also, I would LOVE for someone to try my oyster stew recipe and tell me how it goes! Consider it a dare if thats what it takes. Maybe you're a fan and you never knew it? Also, while none of my brothers, sisters, parents, aunts or uncles like oyster stew, PSP tried it a few years ago and loves it as much as I do! Yay!