|Photo from Love, A Yi|
You don’t just eat one oyster. In my case, you don’t eat a dozen oysters either. You go at the little mollusks as if you’ll never have the chance again. Maybe you won’t, fresh oysters aren’t exactly readily available in the middle of the Pacific.
After reading “Consider the Oyster” by M.F.K. Fisher just before arriving in New York, the taste was already on my tongue. You may be surprised to learn that I’d never really eaten oysters before, my only memory of trying them was when dad breaded and fried hamburger sized ones that were, to me at the time, inedible.
My friend Jessica, appalled by this new knowledge, promptly escorted me to the nearest dollar oyster joint where we indulged in fries, beers, and the ephemeral oyster. And then I fell in love, just like that.
Fast forward another week or so. Lured by the promise of free oysters, Jessica and I made our way over to the South Street Seaport Museum to hear a panel discussion on Manhattan as it was in the early 1900’s. Back in those days, oysters were so abundant in New York, they were considered a poor man’s meal. Awaiting us at the museum were the fresh and tasty Naked Cowboy and Shibumi oysters from Blue Island Oyster Co. Like I said, you can’t eat just one, so we all but commandeered the shucking table.
In the photo at the top of this post is an oyster with a pearl. Folks, this is real life. A real, honest, could-not-make-this-up-if-I-tried pearl. The oyster shucker dude totally shucked it right in front of my eyes.
And then he ate it. Guys and gals he ate the pearl. He said it is tradition. Tradition! I waited for a solid 5 minutes for him to give it up and admit he was joking. Not joking. He ate the pearl.
This sealed my romance with the oyster. Forever.