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Oysters and "r" months

Melbourne skyline from the southbank.

above: the skyline of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Where I grew up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Maryland, I was taught only to eat oysters in months whose name had the letter "r" in it. The reason being that the local oysters were growing in pretty warm water during the "non-r" months - May/June/July/August - and warm-water diseases and spoilage would be more likely to be a problem.

I was thinking that maybe the rule still works here in Australia because there is no "r" in "DEE-SEM-BAH". And that I shouldn't eat oysters because it is the middle of summer here - the highs today are supposed to reach almost 40° C!

However, I still think there is an audible "r" in January - even if it gets pronounced "JAN-YER-REE" around here. So - I gotta wait a couple more days?

But yesterday, as I was trying to decide whether to chow down on a half-dozen here in Melbourne, a little further consideration convinced me that "Chesapeake rules " shouldn't apply here. The temperature of the waters these oysters are coming from is a lot colder - at around 20° C - than the Chesapeake, which hits 30° C in Summer.Oysters from Tasmania.

And the oysters were from Tasmania anyway - a bit cooler still - only 1600 miles from Antarctica.

So I enjoyed some mid-Summer December oysters along with a glass of "Moo Pale Ale", also from Tasmania, which the brewer calls an "American style Pale Ale" and "a quintessential microbrewery beer". Very nice - just no comparison to the dilute pee that the biggest breweries in America call beer: "We start with pure mountain water - then we take the purity out!"

Know why they spend millions on sponsorships and ad campaigns? Because nobody in their right mind would drink the stuff unless it was hammered into them that it would make them cool.

Thank God for microbreweries everywhere.