Why is National Oyster Day in August?

Yesterday was National Oyster Day — and we went to Drago’s in Jackson to recognize the observance (of course). The waiter was not aware it was National Oyster Day — and my husband asked, “Are you sure? Why would they make National Oyster Day in August? It doesn’t have an R.” The gentleman at the table next to us took my husband’s side — and I had to pull out my phone to prove I had not made it up as an excuse to make my husband take me out for oysters on a rainy Friday night.

Growing up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as a child, you are subjected to watching your parents eat disgusting, slimy little critters — raw oysters — slurping them down gleefully like Jello with bizarre additions like stinky horseradish and spicy cocktail sauce. You are also subjected, it seems, to their oyster myths — like only eat oysters in months that contain an R.

Later, inevitably, you “inherit” the oyster gene and slurp them down yourself every chance you get. Often, just as your parents did before. Literally. (I only found this out when my husband found it strange I had to eat my raw oysters on a Saltine cracker. I thought this was a requirement. So did my father. But not his, it seems.)

As long as you are buying oysters from retailers or restaurants (and not harvesting them yourself), you can enjoy oysters at any time of the year. Vibrio, a bacteria which has gotten much more attention in Mississippi as of late, is more common in the hotter summer months, for sure, which can make people sick when harbored in an oyster. (The USDA does monitor for their presence, but those with compromised immune systems should still be careful.)

But enjoy your oysters in August — and May, June & July even. After all, life’s too short to only eat oysters in months with an R in them!


Originally published at mississippifoodie.blogspot.com on August 6, 2016.