Ode on an Oyster: A Cultural Odyssey

The oyster wears many hats: lowly scavenger of the bay; elegant accompaniment to a fine meal; fragile victim of warming seas; or the epitome of sophisticated palates, everywhere. Whether eaten raw, baked or fried, Rockefellered, stewed or au gratin, oysters have enjoyed a long and time-honored culinary history. The oyster has played a key role in our region’s economic and cultural narrative, as well. Dutch settlers found them in abundance off the tip of Manhattan Island, and the Sound once flourished with beds of this curmudgeonly bivalve. After falling victim to the ravages of pollution and neglect, the lowly, local oyster is now making a comeback.

This class excursion will transport passionate oyster lovers (and those open to the possibilities) to historic Mystic Seaport, where the facilities of this maritime museum will help open our eyes and taste buds to the sensational oyster and its surprisingly indispensable place in our lives.  We will begin with a tour of the Seaport’s nautical collection devoted to the history of oyster harvesting, followed by a presentation on oystering’s illustrious past in Connecticut and the Sound. Then, an expert explains how 21st-century oyster aquaculture methods are helping reconstitute a once-flourishing industry; and finally, a chef from a local oyster house will demonstrate how to open, prepare, and most important, eat oysters.

Transportation, a boxed lunch, lemony hot sauce, and napkins will be provided.

Instructor: Richard Friswell

Saturday, October 1, 2016 | 9 A.M.–4 P.M. | $125
Richard Friswell
RICHARD FRISWELL has a master in education from Boston University and an MPhil from Wesleyan (’14), where he was awarded the Rulewater Prize for interdisciplinary scholarship. He is publisher and managing editor of ARTES magazine, an international fine arts e-magazine; an elected member of the Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art, American Section, one of only 450 in the United States; an award-winning writer, with two national medals from FOLIO: Magazine for his editorial contributions in the field of art journalism; as well as numerous exhibition and print publications to his credit. Originally from a business background, he has dedicated the last two decades of his career to visual arts and cultural history, with a particular focus on modernism.