by Bella Rum
(With Grade AA Butter??)
No longer emblazoned on the front of the can, it’s funny how that “Grade AA Butter” was something to crow about in 1969, and how “important” it was to add whole milk.
What may seem a triviality to most is pretty important to someone who lives with me. Campbell’s Oyster Stew disappeared from the store shelves about a year ago. The event passed without notice for many, but when he could no longer find his favorite kid soup, H started muttering about it. Before long, you would have thought something important had happened, like Hostess going out of business or Smithfield selling to the Chinese, or Ukrop’s giving in to Giant/Martin Food Stores.
While Little H was eating canned oyster stew, my family was eating the homemade version: a quart of oysters with their liquor, a few cups of heavy cream, a half stick of butter, seasoning. Then we drove to the ER and ate till one of us had a myocardial infarction.
Imagine H’s delirium when he learned that part of my dowry was a continuous supply of fresh seafood, and that he had married into a family that served oysters at every holiday meal. He would never be without oysters just around the corner as long as he stayed married to me. How fortunate for me. He would sell me to a drug lord for a quart of oysters and a dozen soft crabs.
Once H married me, my brother did his duty and kept him knee-deep in oysters. After he eats a few raw ones, I usually fry the rest, but occasionally I make oyster stew for him – the real way. Far too rich for me, he slurps his way to nirvana.
Still, he loves his childhood soup and has always kept it on the shelf next to my childhood favorite, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle. So he continued to search the market shelves for it, always disappointed by the results. He finally googled it, and here’s the answer to the Campbell’s Oyster Stew mystery. Campbell’s got their oysters from South Korea.
An FDA analysis of the South Korean shellfish program found unacceptable water pollution levels in shellfish-growing areas as well as periodic presence of norovirus, which can cause gastroenteritis. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps along with low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. No illnesses have been reported in connection with this product, and no other Campbell products are affected by this recall.
So, there you go. The official scoop on Campbell’s Oyster Stew. What ever will H do to fill in the gaps in his supply of oysters from my brother?
Wye River Oyster Stew
It’s a product of Eastern Shore. The can claims the oysters are tonged by hand from the Chesapeake Bay, practically at our back door. Shucks, some of The Brother’s very own may be in there