Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fried, Stewed, or Nude: I Crave Oysters

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, sex, and fertility in Greek mythology, aka Venus in Roman mythology, was born of the foam of the sea, arising nude from an Oyster shell.  She immediately bore a son, and hence the Oyster has since been known as an Aphrodisiac

Sandro Boticelli's ca 1486 very famous painting The Birth of Venus depicts this birth. 

The Birth of Venus will be on display for the first time ever
 in the United States this year.
It is currently at the Muscarelle Museum in Williamsburg through April 5th.
For 15 facts you might want to know about the painting
Go Here

Human consumption of Oysters predates written history. 
Ancient Romans did indeed consider Oysters a sensual food. 

Oysters have been eaten in the United States since it's earliest days, although the Pilgrims may not have prized them for their sensuality. 

The popularity of Oysters since has ebbed and flowed, but is now definitely on the uptick, with chic Oyster bars everywhere. 

And Oysters are actually, scientifically aphrodisiacal, it seems.  
They are extremely rich in the amino acids that trigger sex hormones, and their high zinc content aids in the production of testosterone.  

Fun Aphodisiac Oyster Fact:  Casanova, the famed 18th century lover who admitted to seducing 122 women, was a rabid fan of Oysters.  He insisted on starting each day with 50.   


This winter we have been craving Oysters (not necessarily for their aphrodisiacal qualities, but hey!). Hmmmmmm AND Mmmmmmmm.........

Tradition has it that Oysters should
only be eaten during months that contain the letter 'R'. 
But lucky for us, this is no longer a rule strictly adhered to. 
We are in an 'R' though at least through next month! 

Oysters ARE an aphrodisiac.
What other foods are?

We have eaten all kinds. 

And we have eaten them all over the place....

Oyster Art with a cocktail!
We do pair them with a cocktai, or twol!!!


Duncan and I devoured broiled Oysters at
Drago's in Jackson just before Christmas. 

Madge, Billy, and I always love them 
raw (okay nude) at The Ranchero in Clarksdale.

The raw Oysters at The Ranchero in Clarksdale are consistently
some of the coldest and sweetest I have ever eaten.


Helena has some good ones!  

Raw/Nude Oysters at Rosie's Diner in Helena, Arkansas are delectable

Just add a......

Silver Oyster fork, of course, and go. 

My middle sister Susan always refused, beginning at age two, yes, two,
to eat seafood without a proper cocktail fork!

We have eaten Oysters at home.


Ed shucked them himself,

And they were delicious!

and they were delicious.

Homeade cocktail sauce with lots of horseradish!!!

Ed baked them, and
they were delicious!


On the way to Florida, in Mobile.

We pulled into Wintzell's
just as the Mardi Gras celebration
was breaking up for the evening.

Ed at Wintzell's

Fried, stewed, and nude
since 1938.

This time we had to try the sampler with
Rockefellar, Monterey, Chargrilled and Bienville, 

And of course the piece de resistance, the fried AGAIN. 
They are the best we have ever eaten!

Just across the street from Wintzell's,
 this little Oyster monument stands. 

I must look for the official Oyster trail!

And then, of course,  


Ok, I am cheating a bit here.
I just love this photo with the Oyster slogan and the Florida looking wallpaoer!

In Cedar Key 
at the Island Hotel and Restaurant 

The historic Island Hotel has been open 
in Cedar Key since 1859. 
We had to check it out.

Poseidon/Neptune, not Aphrodite/Venus was standing guard in the bar.

This restored painting of the God of the Sea Neptune hangs 
in the Neptune Bar at the Island Hotel
and reminds me of Boticelli's Aphrodite.

He has been there since the 1940's at least.

This photograph shows the Neptune Bar with the pre-restoration Neptune painting ca 1948

Cedar Key is known for its 
local oysters and clams.

The oysters were fresh caught that morning 
for the dining room at the Island Hotel

Of course we had to try the 
signature stewed in our dining room at the Island Hotel. 

After several days of 
Oyster gorge in Cedar Key, 
we headed back to the Panhandle and
Oysters on the half-shell at 
Seaside's Shrimp Shack

We dined on raw/nude right on the beach.

No sign of Neptune or Venus though!

But what about all those now empty 
Oyster shells?

I can't resist keeping them
because there are so many 
possibilities for using them.

This lovely home in Cedar Key 
has an Oyster wreath on the front door.

I love the sea-fresh, textured look of the wreath with the sky blue porch ceiling.

Just down from our 
Island Hotel, I found these
sandy concrete hanging planters encrusted with
Oyster shells flanking a weathered door. 

And in Grayton Beach at my beloved
atelier Nicole Paloma, I admired the oyster shell mirror.

Most of the beautiful bespoke garments there 
echo the colors of the shells.

I adore this artful shop in the Monet, Monet building

That glistening palette of Oyster 
neutrals is inspiring. 

Beautiful natural neutrals from the shell are so inspiring. 

Sherwin Williams
Oyster Bar Paint

Shades of Oyster 

Those colors and the use of
 Mother of Pearl tiles
in New York's 
Grand Central Station Oyster Bar
is especially striking.

Loved a special night here eating NUDE with John Lyle, Edwin, and my client Pam  

I may also use my shells to set my table. 

Oyster placecards make a 
memorable party souvenir.

Who are these people?  

Salt cellars are both classic AND trendy.
I love that.

I would add my Mother of Pearl salt spoons!


Some tables offer more than 
a hint of Oyster.  Sometimes it's an all out Oyster fest.  

Oysters ON the beach!  I love it. 

I would love to toss napkins of this Oyster fabric on the table to add a little color and whimsy.  

Cocktail sauce, Lemon AND LOTS of horseradish with my Oysters, please.

These fabulous antique and vintage Oyster plates also add color to the
 neutral Oyster table.  

They are quite collectible.  I once collected them, but placed them all with 
Oyster loving clients whom I love.  

The designs and colors in these antique Oyster plates are utterly inspiring to me.

  Eating so many Oysters has given me
the Oyster plate bug again!

Golds and Saffrons

The (Delta) Blues?

I may design a whole area for displaying them. 

Or maybe just one wall


Or a piece of furniture with 
Oyster inspired hardware 

I consider this cabinet art and I always love Oyster inspired art.

I bought this colorful drawing of an open
Oyster shell in Cedar Key
as a souvenir of our trip.
It reminded me of the two of us.
Two halves that make one shell with 
those special gems in the middle.... 

 Artist Joni Hoffman

that ultimate
 Oyster lagniappe ......


Sadly the Pearl Oyster Bar in  New Orleans closed in 2015 after nearly 100 years.
I covet the sign. 

I love pearls too.

Pearl Art 

Wouldn't it be the ultimate good 
fortune to find these big, fat, juicy pearls
in your next half dozen raw/nude?

I would wear them all at the same time.
I love wearng multiple strands
 in multiple colors!

Yes, I am a Pearl Girl!

For now, I am all Oystered out!
But I am sure, I will rise from my shell soon
for more Oysters.
March DOES have an 'R' in it!

I would love to float about on my Oyster bed.

And I will be ready to try out
more Oyster spots for more Oysters -
Fried, Stewed, and Nude!

Do you crave Oysters?
What's your pleasure, fried, stewed, or nude?

photo credits: Marilyn Storey, Casa Vogue, Pinterest