This dish evokes the happy times I spent making it with my grandma. I remember smashing the saltine crackers into crumbs when I was little and enjoying each other's company as we prepared a dish she made with her own grandma back in the 1910s. Since my grandma died in 2003, we continue to make the dish each year in her memory.
(2) 8-ounce jars of oysters (medium) found in the grocery store's seafood department **keep the juice!!!**
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup 1 percent milk
2 sleeves of saltine crackers (Nabisco original crackers or similar)
Salt and pepper
Butter (or margarine for low-fat option)
2-quart oven-safe casserole dish with lid
Smash two sleeves of saltine crackers in their unopened sleeves; use your hand or a glass to crush them. Kids really enjoy doing this! Butter the sides of an oven-safe, 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle a layer of saltine crumbs along the bottom of the dish until the bottom is just covered.
Using a fork, place 3-4 oysters parallel to each other on top of the layer of crumbs. Cover the oysters with more cracker crumbs.
Place another layer of oysters parallel to each other but perpendicular to the previous layer (like a crosshatch pattern). Cover that layer with crackers. Continue layering with oysters and crackers until all the oysters are used. Finish the top with a layer of cracker crumbs.
In the oyster-juice-filled jars, fill one jar to the top with heavy cream (about a cup) and the other jar with milk (about a cup). Combine the cream/milk/oyster juice mixture into a measuring cup with a spout. Pour the liquid mixture over the casserole. Check the amount of liquid by tipping the side of the casserole dish up and looking for liquid; once you see it, you've added enough.
Dot the top of the casserole with butter or margarine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Enjoy!