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Scalloped Oyster Prep

It’s tough to keep up with my mom; some won’t want to.  I’ve been trying my whole life.  My mother does things like when we are in Michigan for the summers, she wakes up and goes swimming every morning.  No big deal, except sometimes the water is forty degrees and don’t think rain will deter her because it won’t.  Oh yeah, no coffee until after the swim.  My siblings and I all roll out of bed around 9am and because we feel guilty if we don’t, we go for a swim before coffee.  But we might skip it if it’s raining or the water is almost at freezing.

Mom’s breakfast

This was my mother’s breakfast one morning in Michigan: coffee, Diet Coke, and lox.  I always think of lox as a dish served at summer parties with mimosas or champagne; in fact, I’ve been trying to like lox my whole life because I love the idea of them, but, honestly, I’m not a big fan.  My mother, on the other hand, loves lox and not because it’s fashionable.  She loves it so much that she doesn’t need the salmon cut in thin slices; she will just eat it as is (see above photo).

I’m writing all of this because I think of this recipe for scalloped oysters of my mother’s as a bit of an acquired taste.  My mother used to go make it with her grandmother, Nana, when she was little.  In early December, Nana would order the oysters specially and pick them up at the pharmacy.  Then, before Christmas, my mother and her brothers would go over to Nana’s and make bread (more on that in a later post).  Afterward, they were allowed to have some scalloped oysters.  To me, the generations before mine understood a bit better that one has to work in order to get something in return.  Well, even at a young age, my mother loved oysters and other acquired tastes, and so she serves scalloped oysters every Thanksgiving.  It’s delicious, but it took me half my life to realize that.

Layer of Saltines

Photo showing about how oysters should be spaced. This photo was taken after a few layers had been completed.

Layer of mixture of milk and half-and-half.

Layer of butter

Scalloped Oysters

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


  • 32 oz of oysters
  • crushed saltines (about ¾ lb)
  • ¼ cup shallots chopped very small
  • butter (about ½ lb)
  • 1 to 2 pints of ½ and ½ mixed with milk


  1. Spray pan (like a brownie  pan – 8” by 12 ½ “) with olive or canola oil.
  2. Crush a bag of saltines and layer bottom of pan with them.
  3. Then add a layer of oysters spaced an inch or so away from one another. Pour about 1/4 cup of milk and half-and-half mixture over oysters.
  4. Add another layer of saltines.
  5. Add a layer of about 7 to 8 large pats of butter (you should use about 2 sticks of butter) and shallots.
  6. Repeat process until you have gone through the ingredients.
  7. Cover.
  8. Put in oven for ½ hour until brown on top.