A similar sense of good fellowship was also present when we gathered closely around the kitchen table of Matt's mom (Vicki) and stepdad (Ron) in Manns Choice, PA, to partake in a hearty dose of oyster stew ourselves. We slightly tweaked tradition by reserving the fragrant brew for an early morning Christmas breakfast. Extended family members puttered along the drive way car by car and bounced in bellowing a gleeful "merry Christmas" and "happy holidays."
Our eyes rolled back toward our heads, drunk with cheer from the nautical liquor of the oysters and the creamy but light textures of the stew. This wanton crew dove in for seconds of Vicki's knockabout batch, no doubt also drawn to the kicked-up jabs of onions and stream of lusty Worcestershire sauce. Button-shaped oyster crackers provided a nice touch of crunch as they floated shiftlessly in the stew. Minutes later, their soggy disposition upped the oyster stew's heartiness.
Fried oyster critters were also on hand during this vibrant morning. Family members took turns dipping the Parmesan and panko-coated babies into the deep fryer. Some folks topped their bowls of stew with these golden-crusted bivalves while others jammed them into slices of Italian bread to create a robust sandwich, the oyster 'po boy of Christmas morning if you will. Fully sated with this season's bevy of oysters, we ended the morning with cups of heavy duty coffee, mugs of cider tinged with a bit of naughtiness and Christmas cookies galore, homemade by Vicki (pizzells, potato candy, sugar cookies, fruit bars). The only thing we were shucking this day was our weighted down belly!