Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Pearl' of a Day

 for second up on May 5!
As with most days, celebrations are not limited to just one person, place or thing, definitely not one foodie! There are many diverse ways to celebrate on May 5th. We are going to examine three. How you celebrate will totally be up to you. First up...

May 5 is... 
Oyster Day

Today for one thing, you get your foodie fix on the half shell. Actually, oysters have two days of celebration, so don't confuse today with National Oyster Day, which commences on August 5. Just enjoy today and then plan for the next pearl of a day!
Oyster Day is a celebration of this most versatile mollusc. It is a gem of a delicacy, either cooked or raw. Of course, the pearl oysters are not the ones normally consumed by humans so don't expect to find a pearl of quality resting beneath the oyster 'meat'! In other words, don't buy a bag, shuck them expecting to harvest a bunch of pearls just to get rich! It won't happen.

Embrace the Past...

The history of Oyster Day is unknown but the history of human's relationship with oysters is VERY long. Since Roman times there is evidence of people in the United Kingdom and France farming oysters. In the 19th century, New York Harbor was the largest producer of oysters in the world providing nutritious food for thousands upon thousands of people.

Trivia #1...
Harvesting oysters in New England goes back to way before colonial times. Although today oysters are harvested mainly for food, back in the 1700’s they were collected for their shells. Limestone, vital to the production of masonry mortar, was scarce in the northeast. So oysters and other mollusks were captured and added to kilns to take advantage of the calcium carbonate in their shells.
Source: Marine Life Series: The History of Oyster Farming
Trivia #2...
Today, natural pearls are extremely rare. Only about one in 10,000 wild oysters will yield a pearl, and of those, only a small percentage achieve the size, shape and color of truly desirable gems. Most natural beds of pearl-bearing oysters were depleted by over-harvesting in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Source: Shucks, here's another one!

Layer upon layer of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl,
coat a grain of sand until the iridescent gem is formed.
Source: How Do Oysters Make Pearls?
Oyster Day is most widely celebrated in America and the UK, with many festivals to celebrate this culinary delicacy. People celebrate by eating fresh oysters, which for some people takes an acquired taste, especially if consumed raw. Others celebrate by 'buying' oyster pearls for loved ones. Has anyone ever been known to bite into a pearl? Check it out HERE...

The United States houses the famous "Oyster Capital of the World": South Bend, WA. One out of every six oysters consumed in the United States is harvested in Willapa Bay.

How are you going to celebrate Oyster Day...on the half shell, French Baked, Oyster Casserole, Oyster Stew? Or are you opting out of cooking and surprising someone with pearls?