Who knows how some family traditions get started. I think the tradition of eating oysters on the half shell Thanksgiving Day got started when I brought a couple pints of already shucked oysters to Bunny’s to make scalloped oysters. Mark and Granddaddy started fishing them out of the container and I had to bat them away. So to protect my precious scalloped oysters, I bought a couple dozen fresh oysters and a shucking knife one year.
That was at least five years ago. This is how the oyster shucking session goes. It has to be at least below 50 degrees, of course. Coats are required and mittens would be, too, if we weren’t afraid of getting fuzz all over our bivalves. We always eat oysters outside because Bunny just can’t abide them. Mark starts out shucking them, using one of Bunny’s dish towels (we don’t tell her an oyster-juice-soaked dish towel is thrown in with the rest of her laundry). It can take a lot of muscle to shuck an oyster, which is why I hurry back and forth getting crackers and paper towels, so as not to actually have to shuck one. Granddaddy busies himself raking leaves in the front yard, so as not to actually have to shuck one. Noah has to be dragged away from a computer game. He always arrives after almost all the oysters are shucked. So, as you may surmise, Mark not only starts the shucking but finishes it.
The cocktail sauce is homemade, of course: Ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice and Worchestershire sauce. If you want to make your own, start out with about a cup of ketchup and add two teaspoons of horseradish. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and a couple shots of Worchestershire sauce. Now taste it and adjust to your liking.
We always eat our oysters the same way: Saltine cracker topped with an oyster and a dollop of sauce. Noah says some foods just make your stomach dance. Fresh shucked oysters on Thanksgiving. We are doing the hokey-pokey all over the yard.