Back in Town:
I'm back, after a two-week vacation (and back from that week after, when your mind stays on vacation.) After dropping off our daughter at college in Boston, we spent four days in Wellfleet on Cape Cod. We did a lot of vacationy things--but most notably ate oysters. (and lobster and scallops and bluefish and clams and mussels and lots and lots of French fries.) I couldn't get enough of them there. They way they slide down your throat like a silk scarf, the way they taste a little metallic, and just like the way the ocean feels. I've always found it hard to describe eating oysters--I was trying to tell a friend, and she quoted someone doing it perfectly: Seamus Heaney in his poem "Oysters."
". . . . my tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight
as I tasted the salty Pleiades. . . . . "
I would be happy to eat oysters only on Cape Cod or similar oceany places if I could go often enough, but with Washington Platform up Elm St., McCormick and Schmick's a few blocks away and Mitchell's just across the river, it's nice to know I could hang my palate with starlight about any time I wanted. After all, oysters have long been transported far from the ocean.
The other significant food I ate in Massachussetts was Grape-Nut pudding. It's a baked, eggy custard with Grape-Nuts forming a sort of soggy crust along the bottom. Very nursery-food, rather bland, but with a fortifying hit of the whole grain. Perhaps, though, it truly does need to be eaten in New England to be appreciated.