My thesis in grad school was about the Oyster Wars of the Northeast, and how the media of the time sensationalized them. As I was reading over my thesis, I was reminded of this quote.
"I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded: dead."
Even though I totally disagree, the man makes an interesting point.
My thesis is almost done, just getting the last bits together. Compiling the appendix, getting my citations in order.
I will officially be done at the end of September, a month away at this point, but I'm still nervous. With the research and writing done it's all the little bits that need to be tied together. My appendix of articles are PDF's, and I'm not sure how I go about labeling them in a pleasing way. I think I also need to firm up the format of my citations.
The amount of work it still needs will not take me even close to a month to do, maybe a day or two, but it still weighs on me. And this is the hard stuff to get done. The little stuff. Whomever coined the phrase "the devil is in the details" must have been nearing the end of their thesis.
Easter brunch was a fresh ham, although Bunny (my Uncle) was very close to making both a leg of lamb and a cured ham. And my Mum had to be physically restrained when she saw whole suckling pigs at her pig farmer's stall at the St. Lawrence Market. Easter brunch was lovely, saw two of my siblings, two nephews and a niece. I made my youngest nephew cry, I was assured he was just tired.
My Canadian friends made sure that we were all tender Easter morning by hosting a birthday party (Becky!) the evening before. Complete with my dear friend Adam, aka DJ Opkode, spinning a great set in drag. We were all very quiet while Mum was pouring us our Bloody Caesar's Sunday morning.
I've been back in Boston since Monday afternoon, when I met with my thesis adviser who thinks I'm making good progress with my research. Right now I am working on historic newspaper coverage of the oyster wars, as well as looking at the laws that were created surrounding the oyster industry in late 1800's. Judging by the newspapers and some other texts I've read, oyster farmers (or oystermen) were considered a fairly rough group of people. This was a reputation that held true for both legal oyster farmers and illegal oyster dredgers. The media actually dubed the illegal oyster dredgers "oyster pirates" making them menacing but also romanticizing oysters and oyster culture.
Oysters as a food are sexy and a little dangerous. There is very little intent in the life of an oyster, therefore humanity has projected these traits onto this bivalve. Oysters are not like the apple (Christianity's favorite vaginal place holder) brightly coloured with a sweet taste and pleasing curves. Oysters are more menacing, even sinister. They are hard and nubbly gray, vaguely rock-like. In order to eat them you must pry them open with a dull knife. After opening them you must possess the character to place this half alive creature into your mouth, chew and swallow it. The reward? Mild salty, briny flavour. A little sweetness. And undeniable ocean wateriness. The conquest associated with prying open an oyster shell with the hard exterior and quivering slimy interior have undeniable associations. But unlike the apple, which seems initially more appealing, the more challenging oyster yields a greater overall satisfaction.
Why is it then that oyster farmers are associated with danger, romance and a certain machismo, while apple farmers enjoy no such reputation? Is it as simple a matter of water versus land? Crab fishermen get big TV deals while tomato farmers get mentioned in news only when an outbreak of salmonella brings them to the forefront.
There is nothing sexy about salmonella.