I love oysters on the half shell.
Lots of times I’ve ordered a whole dozen for my meal.
Nearly made myself sick trying all the different varieties at Old Ebbitt Grill in D.C.
At the time Jay’s was a swanky place with crisp white tablecloths and all the waiters wore black pants and tuxedo vests, with white aprons and black ties. And when you’re six, you’re fascinated by their ability to carry everything on a platter up over their heads.
I’m still somewhat fascinated by that.
I learned to eat oysters on a saltine cracker with a little bit of cocktail sauce. Okay, a lot of cocktail sauce. Then you put the whole cracker in your mouth at once, because if you try to bite the thing into two pieces, well, it’s just next to impossible and turns into a big mess.
Especially on a white tablecloth.
Especially when you’re six.
Now at first, they’re rubbery. You have to just keep chewing and not think about the fact that you can’t really chew it up. The enjoyment comes from the flavor, not the mastication.
Oh, and be sure that your first time to eat one isn’t with a bunch of boys (or grown men who still think like boys) who like to make gross comparisons about the consistency of oysters. They’re not nearly as enjoyable.
Truth be known, though, that’s why I still have to eat them on a cracker with a lot of cocktail sauce.
But it’s never stopped me from eating them.
Back when I was practicing law, every now and then I’d run across a case of someone dying from eating contaminated oysters, ones served out of season, harvested from warm coastal waters that bacteria lethal to humans just love.
Even that didn’t stop me from eating them.
Now I just ask if the oysters being served are farm raised, preferably from a farm up north.
A few weeks ago I shared some oysters with a friend who loves them like I do. He doctored them up with enough Tabasco sauce to start a fire and slurped his share down straight out of the shell.
I forgot to ask the waiter if they were farm raised.
But nothing could’ve survived that Tabasco.