Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Auld Sod

My family - and when I say "family" I mean "a bunch of shoeless peasants who died 150 years ago" - didn't come directly from Ireland to Boston, but rather, banked off of Prince Edward Island, Canada. "Banked" isn't really the right word, since today there are more people in PEI with my last name than anywhere else in the world. (My eponymous Google-Alert sends me a lot of links to the Eastern Graphic, the Summerside Journal-Pioneer and the Charlottetown Guardian ["Covers Prince Edward Island Like the Dew."])

Today's NYT explains why they stayed:

For shellfish it's paradise, with cold, clean water that's not sullied by coastal industry and has an optimal degree of salinity, thanks to its partial protection from the open sea.

“It's the Cognac of shellfish-growing regions,” said John Bil, one of the island's shellfish shamans, not to mention one of Canada's fastest oyster shuckers.

...Just as some people trek all the way to Piedmont for white truffles or Alaska for salmon, I journeyed to Prince Edward Island for oysters and mussels.

This is where the oysters that go by the designations or labels Malpeque, Raspberry Point and Colville Bay originate. This is what the initials P.E.I. in front of a mussel mean. A P.E.I. mussel is like Niman Ranch pork: a brand with real clout, a boast restaurateurs itch to make.

Read the whole thing, it's pretty enchanting. Disgracefully, I've never been there.

No comments: