Rocky Mountain Oysters?

Another highlight of the Thanksgiving trip west: gorging on raw oysters with my dad. Whole Foods had six different varieties on sale at coastal prices, and, since he was buying, we split five dozen over two nights, narrowing the six down to our favorite three  for the second round.

oysters (3)It seemed a little crazy eating shellfish at the foot of the Rockies, but I comforted myself with the thought that oysters have been shipped live inland for well over a century (packed in ice, they stay alive for long periods of time). So unlike the fish flown in overnight from the west coast or Hawaii that local chefs here in Kalamazoo proudly avail themselves of (in our farm-to-table restaurants no less), oysters can, at least in principle, be sustainably consumed pretty far inland.

Thankfully I didn’t have to eat real rocky mountain oysters.

Out of Our Mines

“Grandma, it’s Mines, not Mimes,” read the placard outside a building at the Colorado School of Mines. We were there to visit their geology museum the day after Thanksgiving, not being the types to brave the Black Friday crowds at the malls and big box stores. The campus, located just west of Denver in Golden, CO, was deserted, but the museum was actually doing a relatively brisk business, with something like 70 visitors before us that day. Gems and rocks draw a crowd, apparently, at least when the collection is as robust as the one you’d expect a leading mining school to be, and it’s what drew us. Two floors of displays of interesting bits of the earth, lit up and labeled, plus a little bit of mining history, made for a pleasant hour and a half. There was just enough snow to make the museum’s outdoor geology walk mostly undoable, but we did get to see the triceratops footprints and palm frond fossils in a nearby cliff up the hill from the museum. From our vantage point there we could look out over Golden and see the town with the massive Coors plant next to it. It was a striking sight: the sky hung low over the valley and the clouds merged with the clouds of steam escaping from the plant, a kind of beauty that only industrialization can provide (the fact that it can is one of the real if more subtle impediments to the economic changes planetary ecology requires we make).

coors

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