Seaside Meal: Mussels

Recipe Notes (by Alexia Moyer)

Audrey Thomas’s Intertidal Life is not a recipe novel, literary cookbook or foodoir. It does not contain elaborate, adjectival descriptions of food preparation and consumption.

Thomas feeds her characters at regular intervals though and these meals speak very much to the time and place in which her characters live: an island off the coast of British Columbia, 1970s.

This is counterculture food: homemade brown bread, yerba mate.

Virtuous, nutritious . . . natural.

Apart from a weekly trip to the grocery store in Vancouver, Alice Hoyle, her children and friends fish and forage for foods. They also have a sizeable vegetable garden.

Today’s post speaks to the bounty of shellfish they regularly acquire.


Mussels cooked in butter with garlic. I added a yellow onion, diced and two green onions, chopped. And most importantly, two cups of white wine.


These were cooked on the fire. Here is a tip from my former Guide/Scout mum and dad. Coat the pot in dish soap before placing pot on or near flames. This way, it won’t burn and you won’t be stuck scrubbing when you should be roasting marshmallows and drinking Burgundy in plastic cups.


If the “ocean” in this picture seems patently devoid of seals and whales and intertidal life, that’s because it’s Georgian Bay. We at Canadian Literary Fare strive for realism . . . within budget.

Bon Appétit. And do put this book on your summer reading list. It’s really very good.


Thomas, Audrey. Intertidal Life. New York: Beaufort Books. 1984. Print.

Photo Credit: Alexia Moyer

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