Cian’s first oyster. Sarah’s not a fan
Faithful readers may recall a couple years back my sister’s fiancé’s daring initiation into Cape Cod cuisine. That particular post was featured on the Cape Cod Times website and to this day is still one of my most viewed articles (you’re welcome, Nathan!). Clearly, my family has an unusual fondness for seafood. Now, you may not feel that landlocked Vermont would be the ideal venue for shellfish experiments. We were visiting the Green Mountain State to enjoy winter sports (post coming soon), and the Powell clan descended on The Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington for a sumptuous New Year’s Day dinner, including $1 raw oysters from choice New England beaches. If you’re trying to navigate the array of downtown Burlington restaurants, The Farmhouse comes highly recommended. My father and I sucked down a half dozen oysters each before our meal, and intrigued by the process, Cian wanted to try one (he’s our more adventurous eater. There are only about seven foods Áine deems acceptable). Since consuming raw shellfish in Nigeria is, um, not suggested, we thought we’d give it a go. Tender, sweet and cheap, it was the perfect opportunity, and Cian was feeling brave.
Cian, Aine and cousins Tavia and Lexi testing the sleigh
“I can see my breath! It’s white!” Cian said excitedly after he walked out of Logan Airport a few weeks ago and, purposefully puffing, entered the New England Winter. Our last Christmas in the States was in 2012, Áine was almost two and Cian was just entering the Age of Santa. That year was a brutal winter, brutal enough to ensure our move to tropical Indonesia. In fact, we couldn’t attend the international teaching job fair in Cambridge, MA that February because of an impenetrable three foot snowstorm, leading to our sudden and exuberant acceptance of the jobs in North Jakarta via Skype. A stoic Nutmegger, I used to brave the four seasons with a certain gusto. I vehemently refused the hydraulic log splitter and snow blower, because dammit, I could split wood with an axe and shovel snow like my ancestors with a shovel. Now, with my return to New England just at the Solstice, when the days are gray and brief, my faux smile was put on for the kids and my feigned excitement for bitter, stinging, cold weather was a thin, pale veil of my current dread of winter. It fucking sucks. Continue reading