When I was six or seven, my gramma dared me to eat my first oyster for a dollar. I accepted the challenge, but it felt like wet snot going down the back of my throat. I gagged and she laughed, telling me that it would put hair on my chest. I remember thinkin’ that she was crazy, because I was a girl and heaven help me if I grew hair on my chest. She replied with her quintessential “tough titties” comment.
Years later, she passed away. One of her best friends, Arnette, owned a local oyster house in Ft. Walton and it was my gramma’s wish to have her memorial service there. So, we all packed into that dark, lively oyster house to say our farewells to one of my favorite people.
Will these recent events change our coastal history? I do believe they will…unfortunately. What will happen to gulf seafood now? I have so many memories of fish frys, trips to the seafood market, going down to the docks at Destin, and everyone eating oysters by the bushel…topped with hot sauce on a saltine.
It’s not only gulf seafood that may not be safe, but also our culture and our way of life. It’s strange, because if gulf seafood truly isn’t safe to eat, those fish frys, restraunts, seafood markets and daily catches will only be a memory. In my heart, I want those events to carry on, but I’m not sure how they will.
The fear surrounding gulf seafood is so high, that people are asking if the oysters or fish were caught in the gulf when they order from the menu. The federal government came out today with “Dockside Chats” which will promote the safety of gulf seafood and answer questions from the public. I’m curious how they’re going to pull this off, because the last time I checked, many fishermen were opposed to selling and eating gulf seafood.
This reminds me of when DDT was really popular and everyone used it. The government touted DDT as “being safe”, when in fact, it caused cancer and eventually was banned in the US, thanks in large part to Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. This is an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association about long and short term affects on the food chain. What gets me, is that JAMA, one of the most respected medical associations, is publishing this type of information and we’re having “Dockside Chats” on how safe gulf seafood is?
I know that the fishing industry will crumble if gulf seafood is truly not safe to eat. The Obama administration must know this too, but at the expense of the American people? I’m so sad about what has happened in my hometown and throughout the oil spill area, and losing my right to eat gulf seafood just chaps my hide. But…and this is a big “but”…what a disservice the Obama administration is doing to all of us if it isn’t truly safe. Mother Jones magazine is also questioning the safety of gulf seafood in this article.
Now, granted, I’m sure that you have to eat a lot of shrimp or a lot of crab to end up with an oil spill related illness. But, have ya’ll ever seen a buffet that has shrimp, oyster or crab? Man, it’s like somethin’ I’ve never seen before…there is so much food consumed in one sitting. I mean, my dad and brother alone can go through like 2 pitchers of beer and 3 dozen oysters at one time. So, we know that you don’t eat just “one” oyster or “one” shrimp. It’s sold by the pound and the bushel…and that’s where the oil spill starts to creep in…you’re eating pounds and bushels of oysters, crabs and shrimp over a period of years…if gulf seafood isn’t safe, it’s bound to catch up with us.