Serves: 5



Mention oysters and most folks conjure up images of oyster stew, fried oysters, smoked oysters, or oysters on the half shell. These denizens of the estuaries go by such names as Blue Point, Hood Canal, Malpeque, and Kumamoto, etc. We have here in the Rockies, oysters, in name only, that are known as 'Rocky Mountain Oysters' or, RMO's. Should individuals from the East (that portion of the US laying between Cheyenne, Wyoming and the Atlantic Ocean) read this they may have already asked themselves, "What is a Rocky Mountain Oyster"? In an effort to be politically correct, I'll phrase it like this! Male calves are relieved at sometime in their life of two 'items' that require they change their name from 'Joe Bull' to 'Joe Steer'! The next question one might ask is, "Where did they come from?" My guess is it went something like this. At some long distant branding fire, a chuck wagon cook ran short of real grub so he took a bucket of these 'items', rolled them in flour and fried them crisp. I'd also hazard a guess not everyone on the crew went back for seconds.

Call it a mental block, but Rocky Mountain Oysters rank very high on my list of non-preferred foods. But each to their own! Some folks consider them a delicacy of the first order. Here in Idaho one town bills its summer festival as the 'World's Largest Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed'! On the two occasions I've attended this celebration, I restricted myself to potato salad and liquid refreshments that come in 12 oz. brown bottles. In watching other attendees I also noticed many folks first consumed the contents of numerous 12 oz. brown bottles prior to getting in line for their first helping of RMO's. Could it be a lot of folks must make mental preparations before partaking of this 'pasture delicacy'?

My one and only personal experience occurred thirteen years ago about forty air miles north of the Mexican border in a little town just off I-10. At the time I'd just become our outfit's first full-time undercover investigator. A particular state that borders Mexico had an ongoing investigation and invited me down for some OJT (on-the-job training). Only those who've done UC work can truly appreciate the situations they might find themselves in. This includes such mundane things as eating and drinking!

For the purposes of this story, the guy I partnered up with for two weeks I'll call Jake. Jake, being a transplanted New Englander, knew at the time more about oysters than I'll ever know. Like a lot of other 'Pilgrims,' though, Jake when first told of RMO's thought them to be a fresh water variety of the Malpeque. But, I'm getting ahead of myself here.

A couple of days after I arrived, Jake and I took off on a road trip. Over the course of several days we planned to contact 'customers' who had been supplying Jake and other investigators with illegal wildlife. Our first stop would be at a little cowboy bar about forty miles north of 'Old Mexico.' As luck would have it, we ran into a couple of Jake's 'customers' just as we pulled off of I-10. Transactions of the type we dealt with are rarely cut and dried. The preliminary wheeling and dealing occupied the time it took to shoot six or seven games of pool at this desert oasis. Bill, one of Jake's customers, asked us after the first round of negotiations, what our dinner plans were. Being thirty plus miles from the nearest establishment that required reservations, Jake said we were open. At this point Bill suggested we join him for "huevos" served out of doors at a local farm workers' village. Now some readers will recognize "huevos" as the Spanish term for eggs. In another context it also refers to the 'two items' a bull must part with to become a steer. In the interest of "furthering the investigation" we accepted Bill's invitation. Jake and I both hummed the tune from "I Wish I Were Any Place But Here" as we drove the eight or so miles to dinner. Once committed, neither of us could figure out a way to gracefully avoid dinner without offending our 'customer'!

We arrived after dark. Bill introduced us around,and we continued our negotiations while our new found friends who spoke little English prepared dinner. Armloads of firewood carried to a central location constituted the kitchen area. After getting a fire built, one fella came into the firelight toting what I can only describe as a 'Rube Goldberg Wok'! This particular cooking apparatus had started out as one blade of a range land disc. After fulfilling that roll for who knows how long, it had been retired. Someone first welded the bolt holes shut, then found a piece of steel pipe the same diameter and welded a three inch side wall on the outside edge. With three metal legs welded on, it looked like a milking stool from Hell. Though not much to look at, this 'three legged wok' did appear to be functional.

To digress a little, let's go back to the town in Idaho that has the "World's Largest RMO Feed." The folks who put on this particular event, convert their bulls to steers at 2-3 months of age. At this age, the RMO's are about the size of the 'jawbreakers' we bought for a penny as kids. After being split, cleaned, breaded, deep fried to a crispy golden brown, and smothered in ketchup or salsa they are served. It was this vision in my mind that kept telling my subconscious it would not be as bad as I anticipated.

Wrong!!! The cook started by pulling out a bucket of grease. I first thought, when I peeked into the bucket, that this must be a family heirloom for it looked so old. The cook's helper then showed up with a pail of large RMO's! And I mean large! Judging from their size, I estimated that the bulls who sacrificed these 'jewels of the pasture' to be 18-24 months old. We're not talking 'quail egg' size RMO's, we're talking about 'muy grande' size RMO's. Texas size if you will. But, I'm not sure what was bigger, the RMO's or Jake's and my eyes. Being a game warden requires a certain amount of machismo, which I'm sure contributed to our not chickening out and heading home before supper.

As the grease began heating, Jake and I fortified ourselves with several 12 oz. hydraulic sandwiches. Imagine eating a deep fried chunk of s@#%, the size of a hot dog bun with the texture of a pencil eraser! It took lots of beer and lots of hot salsa for me to eat with enough gusto to convince the cooks that I thoroughly enjoyed their cookin'! At the risk of offending those whose mouths water as they read this story I must admit, I literally had to choke down my dinner!

I'm sure Jake and I weren't the first UC investigators to make a great personal sacrifice to 'further an investigation' but many years later it still sticks out in my mind, as well as in my throat. Jake later told me he always made sure to eat a big meal before stopping to see Bill and was damn glad when the investigation finally concluded!

Spiced with More Tall Tales - Fish and Fowl

This _Oysters recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook:
_A Lasting Gift
_About The Cooks!
_About the Author
_As Close To Heaven As One Can Get
_Barbeque Texas Style
_Bread And Horse Wrecks
_Brother-In-Law Duck
_Camp Creations
_Camp Crock Pot
_Camp Kitchens
_Camp Robbers
_Campfire Cash
_Chicken ala S*#T
_Chili, The Controversy And The Recipes
_Common Sense And Cards
_Cookin' With Kraut
_Cooking From Cans - Menu For Day 16
_Culinary Bombs
_Don't Critize The Cook...
_Dry Camps
_Fanny Pack Snacks
_Game Meat
_Game Warden Dog
_Game Warden Scramble
_Garlic & Her Poor Cousin "Onion"
_Getting Bread In Camp
_Good Cooks / Bad Cooks!
_Good Humored Cook
_Hank's Spaghetti Sauce
_Hank, Jack And Me
_How To Cook A Coot
_Hungry Ridge Chicken
_Jerky And Smoked Fish
_Las Piedras
_Making Do
_Middle Fork Spareribs
_Modern Day Pilgrims
_No Name Creek Baked Beans
_Pitch In And Pitch Out
_Potatoes aka Taters, Spuds
_Redhot Rhubarb Upside Down Cake - The Story
_Religious Bedroll
_Roast Coot
_Rubs For Meat, Not Backs
_Shoestring Bull
_Something Soft For Dinner
_Sugar And Spice And Other Things Nice
_The Adventures of 'Two-Story Tom'
_Things I Don't Care To Eat
_Twas The Week Before Elk Season
_Two Reluctant Cooks
_Veggies For Camp
_Warden Stew
_Where Do You Buy Scratch

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