I’ve quickly learned that the secret to surviving life at Island Creek Oysters is to understand the language. There are terms, phrases, and nicknames for just about everything so, in order to provide a little navigational help, I’m building a glossary of terms (in no particular order).
Storm the Fort (v.)
To release the leader of his/her stronghold over a float. Maggie is currently attempting to storm A2’s fort. A few more days and laughing fits, and she might just suceed.
Someone who pushes the buttons of whoever else is nearby. PTB Will, for example, finds the one thing I’m annoyed about each day and brings it up (with a laugh) over and over again.
‘Ster Crazy (v.)
The breaking point after too many hours of monotonous culling and/or counting hundreds upon hundreds of oysters. Onset is usually made worse due to hangovers and overexhaustion. Symptoms: long bouts of mindless chatter; slamming tools down on the table; crazy eyes; heavy sighing. Cures: Sean Kingston’s “Shorty Firing Burning on the Dancefloor”; Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”; cocktails; a swim. Also known as ‘Ster Fried.
One name created for two Island Creek employees: Joe and Steve. They work together as Billy’s farm assistants (Joe is Billy’s grandson). They’re often mistaken for brothers; both hate being called Jeeves independently. I’ve taken to calling Steve “QB1” since he’s a dead ringer for Friday Night Lights character Matt Saracen (the quarterback).
Construction Berg (n.)
Construction employee, Mike, who currently works on the crew building the new Maritime School at Duxbury Bay Marina. With his long blondish hair, he is Andy Yberg (Berg)’s Doppelganger, or what Berg might look like in about 20 years. See also: Oyster Mike.
Oyster Mike (n.)
Another name for Berg; Construction Berg’s oyster-farm double.
Long, stringy, utterly annoying strands of seaweed. (Skip: “That part of the lease is covered in weed. Once we start dragging more regularly, it’ll start to thin out.”)
The act of harvesting the oysters with a large netted tool that gets dropped into the water from the boat and drags oysters off the bottom. Each net pulls in enough oysters to fill about 2-3 crates.
A construction-orange plastic container used to hold oysters. Depending on the oyster size, can hold about 250-400 oysters. When stacked one way, they fit snugly together like puzzle pieces; stacked the other way, they sit on top of one another without crushing the oysters. Deciphering the stacking method takes some time but once you get it down, they are genius tools of the trade.
A person, usually male, that has a totally unlikable attitude and personality. Typically identified by the Abercrombie & Fitch wardrobe, roman numerals after the name (David White Murray IV excluded), a golf club over one shoulder, and a popped collar. (Shore at the Beacon Hill Pub: “This place is full of nozzles.”)
To go negative on a particular topic. Topics can include songs, people, ideas, Tsang’s, culling, and life in general. (A2: “E-rock, stop hating on Tsang’s.” Berg: “Erin, bring the hate.” Erin: “Berg’s totally hating on Hootie right now.” Cory: “I’m a hater, Erin. You’ve got to be a hater in life.”)
South Duxbury’s only Chinese restaurant (that I know of) where lunch is cheap and the portions are huge. This is A2’s favorite lunch spot; he’s a General Gau’s fan. Berg usually gets orange chicken. I’m still working my way through the menu but chicken chow main is creeping up as a favorite.
Porn Star (n.)
The name chefs and growers have given to the Per Se oyster. Usually called Per Se because these are the ones Per Se restaurant specifically requested. They’re beautiful and have a perfect cup size. I’m guessing that, and the fact that the initials are the same, are the reason it’s come to be called the Porn Star.
Stands for “return to grant.” The name for oysters that have been culled and found to be broken, chipped, or too small. They’ll get brought back out to a cordoned off section of the lease to regrow and then they’ll be reharvested after a certain amount of time. Once reharvested, they’re usually perfect and ready to go out to the public.
Skip Bennett: Benny
Shore Gregory: Bug
CJ Husk: Squeege, Hota, Spiccoli, Oyster Dude, Monk
Corydon Wyman: Cory, Don, The Don
Andy Yberg: Berg, A1, Steak Sauce
Andy Seraikas: A2
Erin Murray: E-rock, Murphy, Emu, E-Pain, Mama Seed-a
Bennett’s General Store: Bennie’s, Benoit’s
Will Heward: Mad Scientist, Dopeass (self titled), PTB Will
A few great recipes for Island Creek Oysters:
Ken’s grilled Island Creeks
1 dozen oysters
2 tbsp butter, cut into a dozen small pieces
1-2 tbsp Mexican hot sauce (essential that it’s Mexican, says Ken)
1. Fire up the grill. Set the oysters cup side down over a medium/high heat. Grill until the shells just pop open (time varies depending on the oyster), then pull them off the grill.
2. With a shucking knife, separate the oysters from the top shell (toss the top; careful not to lose too much juice). Top each oyster with a piece of butter and a dash or two of hot sauce.
3. Put the oysters back on the grill for about a minute to melt the butter. Pull them off and let them cool for a bit before serving.
Berg’s Baked Oysters
2 dozen Island Creeks
1 bag baby spinach, chopped
3 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp butter, chopped
Couple handfuls of shredded parmesan
Shuck the oysters. Top with couple pinches of spinach, 1/4 tsp garlic, pat of butter, couple pinches of parmesan. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or until parmesan is melted.
Will’s “Chilean” Island Creek pan-fried oysters
2 dozen shucked ICO’s, reserve some liquor.
Kultru Chile olive oil
Extra Virgin olive oil
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. oyster liquor (from shucked oyters)
4 farm-fresh Araucana eggs (or regular eggs), minus 1 egg white
2 tbsp flour
3/4 bag of Panko bread crumb flakes
2 tbsp flour
Homemade or commercial chili mix to taste. (Will uses Fireman Fred’s Flaming 3 Alarm Chili Mix from Saratoga)
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of cinnamon
Over med high heat in a saucepan combine Kultru Chile Olive Oil with EVOO (half and half to fill pan halfway). Combine all batter ingredients in a large bowl. Combine all breading ingredients in another large bowl. In sets of 6-8 oysters, dip in batter, then roll/cover with dry ingredients. Pan fry for a few min on each side, until batter gets golden and crunchy. Serve atop garlic Triscuits, cover with small slice of pepperjack cheese and a pinch of chopped spinach. Arrange on baking sheet and heat in 375 degree oven for as long as it takes to just melt the cheese. Serve ’em up with a glass of Crios Malbec Rose.