09 September 2021, The Tablet

The world’s your oyster ... possibly

The world’s your oyster ... possibly

With its delicate, opalescent flesh and Chantilly frilly edge, the interior of an open oyster is a beautiful thing. But not to everyone. This ancient, extraordinarily fine food also holds the fear factor. That we eat raw oysters when they are still alive is the main repellent. Some are afraid of being poisoned. I am sure that I left it late in life to try my first after a relative told me he’d witnessed a man fall off his bar stool in a New York oyster bar, dying on the spot. For all I know, he was not a victim of anything more unusual than a heart attack, but the image stayed with me.

I was probably three glasses of Muscadet “in” when I finally got around to trying my first. It was love at first bite. The flavour of oysters is “pristine ocean”; the best of them leave a tingly sensation in your mouth and, if you do not take a sip of water or wine, this beautiful taste lingers for several minutes.

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