Oyster Roasts in the South

Oyster Roasts in the South

Oyster roasts are a big part of being a coastal Southerner and a big part of being at Pineapple Hill. We wish we shucked enough oysters to pave our driveway with crushed shells but that would take a million years and cost millions of dollars (similar line spoken by Otter during the trial scene in Animal House).

Pinepple Hill, our beach house in a cow pasture, was meant to have an oyster roast party room underneath—at ground level where you park cars beneath the house—but that spot was always needed for something else. A board room. A storage room. A workshop. As a result, our oyster roasts were outside in the open air exposed to cold wind and rain and bugs and dogs wandering through.

Then recently the stars lined up just right in terms of free space, extra time, and a few more dollars to throw at our experimental home in the Palmetto State. The work was done a bit at a time. Polynesian-style paintings of fish and turtles were mounted to the ceiling along with a skim board, some old fish net and the storm sail off a thirty-foot sloop I once owned. The concrete floor was painted and then a few pieces of furniture that wouldn’t mind accidental splatters of oyster juice, hot sauce, wine, and beer.

Books about sailing, islands, and sea animals were brought down from my writing space up on the third floor. Novels by Pat Conroy were mixed in the works of Pablo Neruda, Graham Greene and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Poetry by Bukowski, Snyder, Williams, and a dozen others were sprinkled in—a dash here and a dash there. Finally, after bolting some old canoe paddles to the wall and displaying a few wooden sailboat models, the thing was done.

Oyster roasts are done differently in different locales but we think Southern style is best. Here’s an article you might enjoy in Conde Nast.