One of the blessings of living part time in Florida is the readily available bounty of the sea. A mixed blessing, as it turns out, because my husband, a life-long lover of the briny Apalachicola oyster, has once or twice so over-indulged that he has landed himself with a hideous attack of “the gout.”
Gout is a very painful malady, usually presenting as an inflamed big toe joint so tender that the weight of a sheet on it can cause the sufferer to yelp with pain. It is brought on by elevated levels of uric acid, caused by, among other things, the consumption of large quantities of alcohol, meat, and seafood, leading to its one-time nickname, the “rich man’s disease.” In fact, I had thought gout was something that only afflicted wealthy irascible port-drinking elderly gentlemen in historical novels, but it turns out even poorer, less cranky and not-so-elderly people in modern times get it too if they eat enough oysters.
And actually, an attack of gout can make you pretty cranky awfully fast, and all the people around you too.
So, anyway, Sunday afternoon, friends brought a seafood feast over to eat on our deck. Trays of oysters, raw, on the half shell, with a dynamite cocktail sauce and roasted with all manner of toppings -- cheese, garlic, ginger, capers. No matter how I try I am not an oyster lover, but I am a crawfish lover and there were pounds and pounds of them too, boiled up to a deep red color, and served with a spicy Cajun remoulade.
As I looked at all that seafood glory spread out on the table, all I could think of was, “what a gout fest!” So far, we are symptom free, but the name has stuck. I have a feeling we will be enjoying gout fests for many a day to come.