Where, oh, where has my mussel soup gone?

15 07 2008

Well…it hasn’t gone anywhere. It just hasn’t happened yet. It will…but in this gastronimical-desert, finding mussels is a challenge. We have ONE major grocery store, another “bargain” grocery, several Mom& Pop shops, a couple high-end meat (we spell that BEEF here in Redneckville, unless of course, we spell it DEER) counters, and that’s it.  Yes, I live where Venison is “deer meat,” so anything like mussels isn’t a big seller.  I can’t even hit up the local dinner house. Heck-fire, it took them 20 years to put CLAMS on their menu. Mussels /muscles/ are whatcha need fer liftin’!!

Which is not to say that mussels couldn’t be found…I did find them. I found 3 little tiny packages of plastic wrapped mussels in the seafood section…one was just over 4 oz., another was just under 4 oz. and the third was half a pound. It was that half-pounder that caused all the ruckus.

Buying shellfish is a little tricky at the best of times.  If the critters are in the big mesh bags, there’s no telling how many are still alive, or how long they’ve been in that bag. Still, a good market pays attention. So, when you pick up a styrofoam tray of cockles, mussels or clams, all of them should close tightly (if they’re open at all) when you prod them. If they close slowly, they’re in sad condition, but, they’re still viable.  So, when I picked up the package and all the mussels were “panting” and none of them closed…this was a PRIME example of what NOT to buy. And then we got a tell-tale whiff…blech. I called the counter attendant to get rid of them…and to see if there were any others to be had. Nope. All of their product was out on display.

And so…Billy Bi remains elusive. I’ll keep trying.  The weather here will eventually chill out some, and good mussels will be available. With luck, we won’t have wild-fires threatening half the county, nor evacuees camped out in our living room because there’s no room in ANY inn.  Ahhhh….the days of Summer!