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.