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10.14.2010

Now here, now there

I have two half brothers who live on the East Coast, and when I was a kid, if they came home for the holidays, they would bring a Styrofoam cooler of oysters. My father would get out his knife and shucking glove and lean against the kitchen counter, flicking grit and shells into the sink as he went, and they would all stand around, eating and sighing, making the noises that people make when they eat oysters.




I don’t know how old I was that night, but I think I must have been about six. I stood next to my father while he shucked, and he leaned down and gave me an oyster, a fat one, an enormous one, amoeba-like, dripping with brine. I have no memory of eating it. I must have forgotten on purpose. But I do know that I ate it, approximately, if nearly choking can be considered eating, and that it took me 25 years to eat another.




Twenty-five years. Twenty-five years! When I get freaked out about something, I get freaked out. Like, a-quarter-of-a-century-long-freak-out freaked out. The look of an oyster, the texture, the choking thing: I was alright with the idea of never eating a second.




But around this time last year, we had a cook at Delancey who wanted to play around with oysters, and so Brandon went to the Sunday market and bought some kumamotos from Taylor Shellfish. At lunch that day, this cook made a mignonette, and then he shucked three oysters and put them on a plate. Then he dared me. I was tempted to punch him in the face. I was not pleased. I did what I do when I am presented with something that scares the crap out of me. I picked up an oyster, stared at it, and felt like I was going to cry.




I made everyone look away, and then I ate it. Only one, and it was tiny, but I ate it. I chewed and everything. I didn’t die. And when I swallowed, the flavor rang around my mouth the way the ringing of a bell ricochets inside a cathedral, now here, now there, and it did that for maybe ten seconds, now here, now there, before it dissipated. It tasted like seawater and melon and wet rocks. I didn’t even hate it. I almost liked it.




I’m not going to tell you that I am a reformed person, or that I pop oysters like jelly beans. I’m still working on that. Last spring, the first time I was faced with a dozen oysters, a whole dozen to myself, I felt like ducking under the table and making a run for it. I was forced to resort to something like Lamaze breathing techniques, a full-body aaaah-hooooooooo, to get me from oyster to oyster. Sometimes I still do. But it’s getting easier. And it’s worth it to me, because there is no other flavor like it, anywhere. I’m glad I learned that, that I let myself learn it.




A couple of weeks ago, when we had friends in town, I took them to our neighborhood oyster bar, a place called the Walrus and the Carpenter, where I took most of these pictures. We ate oysters from the Effingham Inlet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Ben had never had them before, and when he tasted his first, he yelled OH MY GOD, and I’m almost certain, almost, that he would have done that even if he hadn’t been drinking a cocktail called the Mustache Ride. It was that kind of oyster.




I met a man on a plane once, and we got talking about food. This guy had a Texas accent and the stature of a former football player, but his mother was a tiny Italian woman, he told me, holding his hands about a foot apart to show me how tall she was. We talked about Seattle restaurants, about where he took his wife for their wedding anniversary, about our dogs, about his kids. He has a son in his early twenties, and this son is away at college, but sometimes when they’re together, he told me, they go out for oysters. They’ll suck down four or five dozen, he said, grinning, and they’ll drink some beers, just the two of them, and a couple of hours will go by, and it’s just great, he said. And then he grinned even wider, thinking about it, and he sort of hopped around in his seat, and his face got pink, and he started to giggle. The man giggled.




I get it now. And I’m glad for that.

144 Comments:

Anonymous Jessica @ How Sweet said...

I must admit, I didn't even TASTE and oyster until my 25th year... but now I love them. So does my husband. We order dozens whenever we can find good ones!

5:00 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Jen said...

I've still never had an oyster. But I'm willing to try most things once, so should I never find myself in a place near fresh oysters, I will take a chance.

5:16 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Nicole from Hawaii said...

I feel the same way . . .

5:24 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous make my day said...

I rarely get to go out for dinner anymore..a function of sporty teenage kids and their commitments..our own business etc etc. BUT when we do..oysters are always in the starters. Always. Natural with a dash of lime or lemon juice , they do exactly what you described. cheers kari

5:24 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Maija said...

This was really great. And maybe it's just because I grew up in the town next door to the self-proclaimed "Oyster Capital of the World" with its annual Oyster Stampede event every Labor Day(South Bend, WA on Willapa Bay for those not in the know ;D ), and I can remember those early tastes of oysters and the point at which I actually enjoyed them.

I loved best your description of the flavor as "seawater and melon and wet rocks." So fitting - and sometimes a little bit of wet iron thrown in (not that I go around licking metals, but you know, it's there). Now I want to stop off at the oyster bar in my neighborhood on my way home tonight.

5:27 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger FoodieNextDoor said...

Your feelings for oysters were like my feelings for olives. And funny enough, that recently changed, and I wrote about it too. It's odd how similar our too posts are.

Glad to see that you were brave/open-minded enough to try though.

5:41 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Molly On Money said...

When I was 18yrs old my date took me out to some fancy-smacy place and introduced me to oysters.
I grew up in the desert and had never even seen an oyster before. It was heavenly....yum, yum.
Nice story, by the way!

5:47 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Kimberley said...

Oysters make me crazy, in the best possible way, every time I eat them. They're like drugs.

5:58 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger michelle.belle. said...

oh, how i envy you all! i have developed an allergy to all bi-valves and can no longer indulge. i read your post and closed my eyes, remembering oysters past...

6:03 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Claudia said...

Having utilized acting talents for many years, I managed to swallow oysters without tasting them and thus keep my self-esteem. But I do persevere and it does get better. I am trying to imagine chowing down dozens of them with my children and I think it works for us that we bond over pasta.

6:03 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Katie said...

I love the story of the man that giggled - it reminds me of the first time I ever had an oyster. I slurped one down tentatively, after being badgered by my mother to try one - I started to giggle, which slowly turned into an outright laugh. They really are amazing.

6:04 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger SB in SB said...

i think we all recall the moment we taste our first oyster. it's usually in the company of an adult and we feel both pressure to impress them but also to run and hide. my niece had her first one at thanksgiving last year and she did a much better job than i did. someone brought a cooler of oysters and we grilled them. they are mindblowingly good like that. you must try! read how here: http://www.southernbelleinsantabarbara.com/2009/12/thanksgiving-tailgate.html

6:07 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Buona Forchetta said...

So happy you've come to appreciate how amazing a raw oyster can taste. I started bouncing in my chair when I read "kumamotos from Taylor Shellfish." When I was out in Olympia for my brother's college graduation, I drove out to their little storefront and bought a whole bunch of kumamotos.... and did my very first shucking for the party. And they were so fresh and people couldn't believe just how delicious they were. Now all I want is a plate of oysters and some champagne!!
~Victoria

6:17 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger sweetbittertart said...

Oysters are very special to me because my beloved and I bonded over them. He told me about the poem called 'The Walrus and the Carpenter' by Lewis Carroll - have you read it? What a great name for an oyster bar. It looks like such a lovely place. I'm so glad you tried them again! : )

6:21 PM, October 14, 2010  
OpenID squirrelbread said...

I see a Miller High Life can there on the side of the second to last photo, yes? A stellar accompaniment to fresh oysters if I do say so myself.

Cheers,

*Heather*

6:22 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger vanessa said...

I was a vegan for about 8 years, but had never tried an oyster before that time despite my love of seafood. Now that I'm a carnivore again, I've been eating all sorts of stuff that my life-long meat-eating family won't even touch: bison, liver, salmon skin. But I still haven't indulged in oysters. Now you've inspired to seek them out! Living on the West Coast (Vancouver), that shouldn't be too hard! ;)

6:25 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous molly said...

And I'm glad you are a reforming person, and that you brought your camera along for the ride. It is always lovely to look at your life, Molly, but this glimpse was especially fine.

I've only ever had one oyster. Ten years, and counting. The closest I've come since is Oyster sauce. Though I love that, a lot, if that counts for anything.

6:27 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Debbie B. said...

Oyster totally creep me out! I had the same experience ... my brother brought a bunch home and I've forget eating them on purpose!! I was maybe 10? Too funny.

6:42 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Luisa said...

Um. I totally want some oysters now. There's a stand at the Saturday market near my apartment that sells oysters on the half-shell for noshing during a market break. But I only go in the mornings. Can one eat oysters for breakfast?

6:53 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Cas said...

I had my first oyster on...
Get this...
Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
(The street of so many firsts, no?)
Anyway, I was terrified.
But I was traveling with an aunt and uncle.
Spending the week at Jazz Fest.
And my aunt had never really dug me.
And I knew oysters were her favorite.
So I gobbled one down.
Both to spite her. And impress her.

And then I ate another one.
Slower.
And then another one...

http://wellhellotherelover.blogspot.com

6:59 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Stephanie said...

For me, the texture is a LOT to get over! Perhaps I should redouble efforts to try them yet again

6:59 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Tammy said...

What a great weaving of words ... from your childhood to adulthood, capping it off by appreciating another's sheer enjoyment in the same thing. I've never tasted oysters and have promised myself that I will ... someday ... with one of my dear friends who loves them and can coach me through the first taste. Hopefully, my reaction will be like your friend's!

7:01 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger E said...

Thanks for posting this. I married a frenchman and his family and they love love oysters. When I say the love them I mean by a box of 100 and 3 of them eat them love them. Every holiday we get them. I try one, sometimes 3 ...with bread, with lemon, with tabasco, with mignionette, with crackers.. you name it. Something happens though when I put that big, slimmy, bugger like thing in my mouth! oh so gross. but I will try them over and over until one day my texture issuse will go away and I too will enjoy ... the taste :)

7:08 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger kiwibok said...

One of the happiest weddings I ever went to had an abundance of oysters and french champagne for guests to enjoy while they had photographs taken...it was heavenly and I think I ate more than my fair share!
<3

7:55 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger thebluemuse said...

I've tried: http://thebluestmuse.blogspot.com/2010/04/shawna-versus-oyster.html

CANNOT STAND the slimy buggers. I loved your story of the gentleman on the plane though.

7:55 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger A Day That is Dessert said...

I've never had one; I'm so certain - certain! - I won't like them. It's a texture thing. Cal (as a six year old!) loves them; Abbott was up for trying them but regretted doing so.

8:02 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Lindsey @ FRESH AIR + FRESH FOOD said...

Oysters,
over a campfire grate,
cracked open,
dripping in butter,
squirt with lemon.

Nothing like THAT!
Now you have something else to try.
Makes me giggle:-)

8:16 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Jess said...

Molly, Molly. I just reread M. F. K. Fisher's piece on oysters with a student who (how wonderful is this) wanted to read The Gastronomical Me as part of her independent study. I love that piece, and I love this one, too.

8:22 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Katherine said...

Yes. YES!! I totally get this!!

8:27 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger mosey said...

I get it too. Hubby and I roadtripped up the Oregon/Washington coast years ago and most of what I remember includes ginormous oysters in shot glasses (with occasional splooshes of vodka on top), and being transported by both the landscape and the taste.

sigh....

8:45 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger octavia said...

You are such a lovely writer. I smile each time I read your entries. Truly makes my day. And sadly, I am 60 and have never braved eating an oyster, even after watching my own father devour them for years. You may, just may, have inspired me. Thank you- Octavia

9:44 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Danica said...

Mmmmm oysters. Never thought I'd be able to eat them- but I was wrong. I couldn't force them down when first presented with them. A few short weeks later I actually did and now I can't resist them. I'm so happy I'm a grown up.

9:46 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Anna said...

I love love love oysters! I can easily down a dozen or two. The best oysters I've ever had were in Harrods in London. They have little oyster counter where you can pull up a chair and order up a selection of Irish, French, and English oysters with a glass of chilled champagne. It's incredible how different the oyster flavors can be when you try them side by side like that. The French ones were my favorite, and I kind of wish I had some now.

Love the story about the man that giggled too :D

9:48 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Keri said...

The first step is admitting you have a problem. I'm 42 and I've never had a raw oyster. I've lived my whole life on the west coast (Vancouver), and even put myself through university working at an oyster bar (!) I love them cooked, especially Portuguese style like our chef Joao used to make (all spice and tomatoes), but I've never been brave enough to try a raw one. Maybe it's time to try. At least I can console myself with champagne if it's not all seawater and melon and wet rocks for me.

9:49 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Isabelle T said...

I ate and thew up an oyster when I was six and I haven't been back since. I just can't do it. I'm jealous you did because I know in my heart how delicious they must be!

10:02 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Emily said...

I love oysters, and living in Vancouver, I am so grateful they are in season. I used to hate seafood of any variety, fish as well, and then discovered the joys of very fresh seafood. It makes all the difference.

Also, always a pleasure to wander Seattle-wards for pizza, and please thank your husband for giving my husband a couple of extras to go. And cookies too.

10:14 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Sassy said...

When I was a toddler, up until I was about six or seven, I kept trying to eat pickles, even though every single time, I spit them out after one bite. I thought they were so cute and funny-looking, especially the little bitty ones, with all those little bumps, that eventually I would like them. I never did.

And even after years of living and facing down the best oysters in New Orleans and now the Pacific Northwest, I feel the same way about oysters. It just ain't gonna happen. Ever. And that's okay. I don't need to force myself to eat something I don't enjoy, just because other people think it's some kind of super gourmet treat that only people with "real" palates enjoy.

Not that I'm faulting you for your efforts to get past your oyster phobia. I hated tunafish until I was in my late teens, and onions took another 20 years (still don't like 'em raw). Just sayin' that if you never feel like eating more than one or two at a time, it's not a rite of passage to a brave new world or anything. You won't be a better person because you eat oysters.

Peace out...

11:36 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Linda said...

I was an adult when I first tried oysters. My French husband loves them and puts a little chopped scallion and red wine vinegar on top of the oyster and then slurps it down followed with a bite of buttered bread. I do that now but only eat one or two to his dozen. There is something special about that taste of the sea.

11:44 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Linda said...

PS-did you know that actress Gweneth Paltrow mentioned your blog on Goop? She listed five or so of her favorite food blogs.

11:48 PM, October 14, 2010  
Anonymous Shaheen said...

Bravr, brave Molly! I wish I could gather enough courage to eat an oyster. I just cannot imagine putting a creepy crawly oyster into my mouth.

11:56 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Renee said...

Thanks Molly!

11:57 PM, October 14, 2010  
OpenID bferry said...

ha! molly, i love this post. and the photos are the perfect accompaniment.

1:48 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Žiupsnelis Druskos said...

I thought I wish I would eat them every day!

I think the main reason people get a bad first impression is because they try to swallow it rather then chew it which leads to a near-chocking experience which is unpleasant to say the least.

Go oysters!!! :)

2:28 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger linda said...

your descriptions are the best!
& you met your fears straight on…kudos!

my first oyster experience (i live on the east coast) was @ pearl's oyster bar…need i say more…delectable, delightful…fabulous!

2:56 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous Maya said...

Like you, I'm not a big fan of oysters and avoid eating them when I can. However, I love your oyster stories and wonder if I will ever have my OMG moment, and giggle afterwards! The thing is, my kids eat oysters like they were born to... Not sure what the deal is there.

3:17 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Jennifer Jo said...

I love this post, Molly. The description of the giggling man is wonderful.

You didn't say what it is that you found hard to love about the oyster. Is it the texture? Slimy? Rubbery? I've never eaten one, so I'm just curious...

3:57 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger ~Melissa said...

Yesterday I took a picture of a popular oyster vendor who plies his trade on the street here in Trinidad.
I told myself I had to be brave and be brave soon if I were to cover all things good to eat in Trinidad as many swear by these vendors and their snotty concoctions. I told myself, "self, would Anthony (Bourdain) back down? Would Molly miss out?"
I find it hilarious (and encouraging) that you did in fact fear and I am glad you shared your post. It has given me courage.

Thanks again

3:57 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

What a fabulous story. Oysters certainly are evocative. I tried my first one a few years ago when I was living on the coast of Northern California, at an office party of all places. I was working at a tiny newspaper, and a fellow reporter brought a bag of oysters from his fisherman friend down the road. He shucked them over the bathroom sink and I fell immediately in love. (With the oyster, that is. Not the man.)

4:22 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous Sharon said...

As ever, a beautifully written piece. At the age of 28 I have yet to try and oyster. A work colleague has been trying to get me to give them a go for months. Your post has inspired me to try them before the year is out!

4:46 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous http://vicsrecipes.blogspot.com said...

My friend Sharon (the one who only drinks sparkling wine) and I go to Pearl Oyster Bar and eat oysters and drink Champagne!

They taste like the sea.

We have even graduated past mignonette and just squeeze a lemon half over them and pick them up one by one, and (I apologize for this) sort of slurp them down.

5:04 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Liza said...

My father plied me with gin and tonics, and then convinced me to swallow my first oyster. My second happened more than 25 years after that. I'm still working on it...but I'm game to keep trying.

5:12 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger TheWingchairTraveller said...

The best oysters I've ever tried were in a Parisian bistro near the Gare de Lyon smack dab in the middle of the day. My husband chose the perfect white wine (weird that I can't remember what type of wine). What an incredible memory! Glad you have found oysters again. I really enjoy your writing. It always makes me smile!

5:14 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous Allison said...

Wonderful post! The first time I tried oysters I was actually attending the Guinness Oyster festival in Chicago. I was there alone for quite a while, waiting to meet up with a friend. So I sang along with the band, and ordered a few oysters and my first Guinness as well. I felt so brave! A touch of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon. The idea of the texture and all the juice does make one hestitate. But the flavors and the atmosphere, everything was just right.

5:20 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous the constant hunger said...

I couldn't deal with oysters for such a long time. Recently I forced myself to give it another go. The trick. You're not supposed to chew. That way you taste more of the sea water and less rawness.

5:24 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Sirena Shamounki said...

Such a great post on oysters, Molly! I grew up repulsed by oysters, and one day out of the blue decided to have some with my then boyfriend, now husband, at Fog City Diner in SF, and epiphanically Got It, and Never Looked BACK!
We attended this event last year in DC. It is end all be all event for oyster lovers. Thousands of oysters are shucked, lines move fluidly, bands play, and dozens of wines picked just for their ability to pair with the ever-irascible and difficult to pair oyster. I recommend it to people like your seatmate and friend :-) It's is the bomb oyster event of all time!

www.ebbittoysterriot.com

5:46 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger I Am Gluten Free said...

I recently had a bevy of oysters at a local seafood restaurant. I couldn't believe how many different kinds there were. But even more unbelievable was that the waiter described each of the different types in great detail. Obviously, he spent time sucking those suckers down and getting to know them in an intimate sort of way. Seems odd, doesn't it? Intimacy with oysters.

BTW, your panel (the last one) at blogher '10 was fantastic. At the end, I wanted more. Something anyone who speaks in front of people (or performs, as in my case) can only hope for. That you leave the audience wanting more. Kudos to you!

6:54 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous SeattleDee said...

Loved the post, and chuckled at your brave effort with the second oyster in your life.
Me? I enjoy oysters, small and ultra fresh if you please. But there are so many other tastes and textures that I REALLY love that oysters are just an occasional treat.

6:55 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger caroline said...

I saved the shell of my first oyster, which I had about three years ago. I love how they taste of the ocean, but I'm still trying to get over the texture. This is the part, I imagine, that most people have a problem with.

The shellfish allergy that runs in my family-- and doesn't rear its head until the recipient is in their 20's or 30's-- makes me squeamish about oysters, as well. I always feel the need to brace myself for a possible trip to the ER.

7:15 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Anna said...

My dad made me try one as a kid. And I've never tried another. You're making me think I might want to.

7:31 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Krysta said...

I have the very same love/hate relationship with oysters. I can eat one if I'm out. But unless I'm with someone who can suck down the other 11, we don't order them. I might want to cry if faced with a whole dozen to myself, but it's odd because like you, I actually almost do like them. It's weird.

7:32 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Natalie said...

I'm not sure I've ever had an oyster, and I'm frankly a bit scared of them, too... But this post makes me want to give them a try... Sadly, I live in Minnesota, so good oysters aren't the easiest to come by, but I'll have to put it on my list for the next time I visit one of the coasts.

7:50 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous ann said...

mmm, yes! i'm heading to the wellfleet oyster festival on cape cod this weekend! timely post. i love that seasonality ties together both coasts.

7:53 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger SSteve said...

When I was 17 I saved up my money and took my girlfriend out for a fancy dinner in a nice restaurant south of San Francisco. For some reason, there were two raw oysters involved. I think they were part of an appetizer plate. I had only ever had those canned smoked oysters that my aunt and uncle always served before dinner at Thanksgiving.

We were both terrified. We asked the waitress (wide-eyed, I'm sure), "Are these raw?" She assured us they weren't. After we ate them and told her we liked them, she admitted that they were, in fact, raw. I love that waitress.

8:31 AM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous Cheryl from Vancouver said...

Oh my God, Molly! I must know what is in the "Mustache Ride". That is possibly the best cocktail name ever! Where can I get one? (Like right now.)

8:43 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger SSteve said...

Ok, one more post. The parents of a dear friend of ours have a house in Inverness, CA on Point Reyes. We would often go visit and while we were there go to Johnson's Oyster Company (now Drake's Bay Family Farms), have some oysters fresh out of Tomales Bay, buy a few jars, and go back to his parents's house and make oyster stew. I love this recipe because it's so easy to make. The quantities can be adjusted drastically without detriment to the yumminess.

Peter's Oyster Stew

4 slices thick-cut bacon
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4-5 cups milk
3/4-cup sherry, madeira, or white vermouth
1/3-cup chopped Italian parsley
2 pint jars oysters

Cut bacon into 1/4-inch strips and cook in a large pot until crispy. Remove and reserve. Cook onions and celery in bacon grease (or remove some bacon grease and substitute olive oil). When onion is browned add milk and wine. When milk begins to simmer add parsley, oysters (with the oyster liquor), and reserved bacon. Heat until oysters are warm but not cooked. Serve with your favorite hot sauce. I usually use Crystal.

8:50 AM, October 15, 2010  
OpenID sohdalex said...

I love all the stories captured in here! I too am not a major oyster fan. I just can't bring myself to try one........ maybe in a few more years..... ;)

9:31 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

I have eaten them raw. I have even eaten clams raw (I don't recommend it). But, I have to say I like them cooked best. Oyster stew, oh, yes. The fried oysters they serve at Drake's Beach out on the coast from here, oh, yes. But raw? Only very occasionally.

9:34 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Il Fornaio said...

We listened to your scary foods episode of Spilled Milk one evening while making dinner, and my husband asked me what my scary food was, and without hesitation, I said oysters. I have had such textural issues with clams that I just assume i would hate oysters. I grew up in an east coast ocean town too, but I still managed to avoid them.

But this was so beautifully written, it makes me want to face my fear and try an oyster. There is something wonderful about the idea of an afternoon of beer and oysters.

9:46 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger gnomeInTheWall said...

I admit that I've only eaten one oyster too. It was when I was studying abroad in Ireland. A group of us when to a fish place in Galway and shared a plate. It was memorable. It tasted like everything the sea should taste like - fresh, salty and something slightly mysterious. Mostly I haven't had another because that one was so fresh and delicious that I doubted another could live up.

I hadn't heard of the Walrus and the Carpenter....where have I been? The salmon tartare on their menu sounds tasty, but I'll have to wait to go when I'm not pregnant.

Anyway, that inspired me to walk downtown to get some tea, see what else is new that I might have missed and get my tired self out of the house.

9:59 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Ema said...

Here on Nantucket, the most popular item at a party is the RAW BAR! Slurp them down with your choice of mignonette, lemon, tabasco or straight. I usually skip right over the little necks and cherry stones, have a few shrimp and then gorge on the oysters. Best part of summer by the sea for me :)

10:06 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Ha! I love these oyster stories, friends.

Kimberly, I know what you mean: there is something a little drug-like about oysters. A great one makes me feel euphoric.

Squirrelbread, that is indeed Miller High Life. Good eye you've got there.

Linda, yes, I did hear about Gwyneth! Really, really fun.

Žiupsnelis Druskos and The Constant Hunger, you both brought up the issue of swallowing whole vs. chewing, and I do think it's important. I fall into the chewing camp. Just the idea of swallowing them whole makes me choke! I'm pretty sure that's what I tried to do as a kid, and why it went so badly. Chewing oysters isn't nearly as weird and squishy as I thought it would be, and the texture can be really lovely - surprisingly firm, and almost creamy (if that doesn't sound too gross). I also like what happens, taste-wise, when I chew. I recently tried just swallowing again, and I didn't get the same depth of flavor.

Jennifer Jo, what scared me about them was mostly texture, but at a certain point, it became bigger than that - sort of a generalized terror. But yes, the basis of my fear was their texture. And now I actually find the texture to be a *nice* thing, an important part of what makes it what it is.

Victoria, I've only been to Pearl Oyster Bar for lobster rolls, but now I want to go back and have oysters! Love that place. And I'm with you: mignonette is fine, but I love the way the flavor of lemon works with oysters. Perfect.

I Am Gluten Free, re: the panel at BlogHer, thank you! I was nervous about it, but it wound up feeling like an easy, natural conversation - and fun. I'm glad it resonated with you.

Cheryl from Vancouver, I wish I could remember what was in it. The only part I remember is pimento dram. Damn. Maybe call the Walrus and the Carpenter, and they can tell you?

SSteve, that waitress of yours was amazing! That woman had balls. Awesome. And thank you for sharing Peter's oyster stew recipe! My mother makes oyster stew, and I'll have to see how the recipe compares to hers. It sounds great.

Zoomie, that's so interesting. I like cooked oysters, but what really does it for me is the flavor of a raw one.

10:59 AM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger alex said...

Molly, I just wanted to say -- I've been going through your archives recently and after looking at your (thoroughly decent) photos from the olden days, I am blown away by these beautiful pictures. Beautiful!

Also, are you going to write a book about opening Delancey? 'Cuz ya should. And that's all I have to say. Oh, oysters. I refused to try them until my cousin got married at the Miss Williamsburg Diner and had unlimited oysters at the reception...and I've been obsessed ever since. Yum!

1:22 PM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger raineygirl said...

Molly, you captured my new (besides Delancey of course- PS I'm coming for dinner tomorrow) favorite neighborhood spot so well. I adore their cocktails too! I too have just discovered Oysters this past year, they are quite lovely.

1:54 PM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Laura said...

The idea of eating (and chewing) a alive creature, slipping down my throat, makes me gag, no oysters for me, or sea urchins for that matter.

I love the big man story, and his giggling!

2:07 PM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous Matthew said...

Loved the Walrus and the Carpenter, your photos and your story. As always, thank you for sharing with us :)

4:59 PM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Peeling Orange said...

I've never tried, but now I feel like trying, really.

5:39 PM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger katemakes said...

I now have a major craving! I lived in Japan for several years and every winter we were given a huge bucket of 200 or so oysters. We had them every way you could imagine but still my favourite is fresh with mignonette and sake on the side. We called it the "slippery shooter supper".

6:42 PM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger Pots and Frills said...

You are brave! I still haven't had the courage to accept the raw fish idea, even in sushi. Herrings, but only in certain dishes, are as far as I can go, although I come from Poland, where they are extremely popular.

7:05 PM, October 15, 2010  
Blogger margie said...

I'm still frightened of oysters, to the extent that I've not ever tasted my first. My father used to eat smoked oysters straight out of the can, and the smell still haunts me.

I need to find an oyster-loving friend who wants to buy a dozen and let/make me try one, if only so that I can find out about this oyster experience for myself.

8:56 PM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous Jessie said...

like you, i remember choking on one as a child... and i don't think i've had another after that... i wonder how long it'd take for me to try again...

10:20 PM, October 15, 2010  
Anonymous Mzungu said...

Tried oysters once, and it was like eating sea water. Never been back.

1:05 AM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous Tricia said...

I can so relate. I love oysters...but at the same time sort of almost don't like them.

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment...it meant I found your gorgeous blog. Looking forward to following. T :-)

3:13 AM, October 16, 2010  
Blogger Gemma said...

I was terrified of oysters (definitely a texture thing) until I somehow found myself at an oyster tasting about 2 years ago and tried one, I was so surprised by the taste that I laughed and then didn't stop talking about how wonderful they were for about a week. Gx

3:30 AM, October 16, 2010  
Blogger Patty said...

What is odd is that I seem to be the only person who neither hates nor loves oysters. I will eat them, when offered, one or two or three, and they're okay. But not worth the money or trouble, to me. I'm pretty open-minded and grew up eating shellfish of various kinds, sometimes really fresh from Long Island Sound.

5:05 AM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Houston and have LOVED raw oysters for as long as I can remember. My Father's family was from a distinctly working-class section of the metropolitan area called Baytown. It is on the "bay" that separates Houston from Galveston.... and people ate lots of Gulf Coast sea food there, which was cheap and abundant. People used to get oysters, crabs, and shrimp, in large brown bags from trucks that brought them to the towns directly from the boats that sailed out of Galveston Bay. It was everyone's food for sure.

My Uncle Bob loved to tell the story giving me my first oyster. According to legend, I was four years old - hanging around my Grandmothers small tidy kitchen. Uncle Bob was shucking the oysters. I there in the - "in the way" typical four-year-old style. Uncle Bob said, "Here Katherine try this!" - I can imagine him winking at the other adults in the room. So the story goes that I absolutely loved it and quickly ate a dozen more.

After that for as long as I can remember - if asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner answer would be raw oysters. If raw oysters were on the menu of a restaurant - that is what I would order. My mother - then a budding gourmet - now a widely published food writer and cook book author - always gloated with parental pride when even at the local burger place or Tex Mex joint - her young daughter would first inquire as to if the kitchen offered a dozen raw oysters. To this day - oysters are my favorite food. The briny, salty, slippery quality is divine.

I still only eat them in months that contain a "r" in their name - September through April - as is the tradition of the Gulf Coast. I am so sad they are so expensive. Sadder still, that with global warming and pollution the "r" in the months name may make no difference. Last time I was in Houston - My father who is no sissy - advised against ordering Gulf Coast oysters. The BP oil spill made me sadder still - to realize that my beloved Gulf Coast shell fish (still my favorite verity - as they are so subtle in flavor) may never be the same. I do delight in the fact that people oysters are being introduced as a way to clean up the Hudson river and other great bodies of water. Still not sure if I should be eating the designated filters anymore! Maybe I can offer one to my grand children when they are 4 - and restart the tradition.

6:29 AM, October 16, 2010  
Blogger robyn said...

Molly - I've been reading your blog for years but sometimes I read a new post and am reminded of just what a great storyteller you are. This was definitely one of those moments. The bit about the father and his son was just lovely....such a great reminder of how food connects us and has the ability to make a great memory that much better.

9:11 AM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous summer said...

I love this post, how awesome! I love the photos and descriptions... especially of the Texan on the plan giggling! Thank you. I've never been brave enough to try a raw oyster, but maybe next time I am faced with the option, I will try them.

9:19 AM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous The Rowdy Chowgirl said...

I love the Walrus and the Carpenter! And I loved this post. I had my first raw oyster several years ago, pretty much only because I'd never tried one and they sort of scared me. And it was amazing and ocean-y tasting and I can't imagine not having them, now.

3:27 PM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous Hannah said...

I was thirteen or fourteen when I first tried an oyster. I couldn't bring myself to chew it properly, so I swallowed it nearly whole, which was probably worse. But now I am inspired to try them again...

4:07 PM, October 16, 2010  
Blogger parker said...

As a life long oyster lover... I loved this post.

I thought nothing could enhance my love of oysters until I recently earned to open them for myself. I always had to rely on them to come already opened and waiting on the half shell. Such a small thing, placing the knife .... then a twist....sometimes you have to work at it, but then... voila!Heaven minus the midddle-man.

6:23 PM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous Roberta said...

I am 47. I had my first oyster this year. In August. FANTASTICO! According to Garden & Gun magazine (yes, you read that right), there is a place here in Texas that serves rockin' oysters. It's called Gilhoolies.

6:28 PM, October 16, 2010  
Blogger monica said...

yeah, sweet story but I still will not eat an oyster.

7:57 PM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous Natalie Thiele said...

I had oysters for breakfast this morning! My favorite farmers market is at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. They serve wonderful clams and oysters on the half shell. It is a huge treat and I try to get there any time I happen to be in Santa Cruz on a Saturday morning.

9:31 PM, October 16, 2010  
Blogger Travelbunny said...

This post is a perfect example of why I love your blog, your book, and your restaurant! Keep up the inspiration doll!

travelbunny.blogspot.com

9:34 PM, October 16, 2010  
Blogger Brett said...

This is the most real writing I've seen from you in a long time.

10:27 PM, October 16, 2010  
Anonymous pws said...

I tried oysters for the first time with a good friend during college -- there was a little seafood counter in the nice, main street-y part of town that served up delish meals to order. In a moment of daring, we both ordered one oyster each as an appetizer -- and whaddya know, it was kind of delicious!

I don't often go to places that serve oysters, but you can be darn sure that when I do, I always get a nice plate of oysters to suck down all by myself! (My husband won't touch 'em, he's a bit squeamish about these kind of things)

Alas, I am currently pregnant and will not be able to eat oysters until next May. May! So I will have to read this post and just imagine the goodness through your lovely pictures. *sigh*!

1:31 AM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Work said...

We went last night and it was fantastic! The raw oysters were, well, exactly as you described them. But the fried oysters were also amazing. And HUB IPA on draft! Thanks for the recommendation.

9:02 AM, October 17, 2010  
Anonymous Ricki said...

You know, I love your writing, Molly, and you certainly capture the experience of eating oysters here beautifully. . . but I have to admit that, if anything, I'm less inclined now to try them than before! I must be missing something here: I just can't get my head around why you (or anyone) would eat something that nearly makes them cry, that they have to use calming breathing techniques to force themselves to eat, for which the best endorsement they can muster is "I didn’t even hate it. I almost liked it"--? Life's too short to eat stuff you don't love, when you can eat whatever you want! (and count yourself lucky--how I wish I could still eat whatever I want. . . though I suspect now it wouldn't include oysters). ;) Gorgeous prose, gorgeous photos, as always, though. :)

9:25 AM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Ricki, oysters are a challenging thing to eat, and there's no getting around that! I'm not interested in sugar-coating it. There's the texture, the fact that they're raw, and the fact that they're alive. But what I was trying to say here is that I'm glad I got past that. I had an experience with them as a child that left me afraid, but I'm glad that I got past it. It doesn't mean that all of a sudden it's a cinch for me to eat them, and I'd be lying if I said that my second oyster was love at first sight. But it was a "like," which was a lot more than I had expected! And it made me want to eat more of them, which I happily do - and now I love them. I think life's too short not to give things a second chance.

9:57 AM, October 17, 2010  
Anonymous RV Goddess said...

Because of my religion, I have never tasted an oyster and because of my religion, I will never taste an oyster... but because of this post I feel that I have tasted an oyster. Thank you.

9:02 PM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Sally said...

I have NEVER eaten an oyster... I am ashamed of this, as I love the idea of going on a date eating oysters with some champagne or beer ... romantic notion no?

I will try them soon!

5:05 AM, October 18, 2010  
Blogger Nancy Baggett said...

Great to meet you at Blogher 2010, Molly. I can identify with your oyster tale--I like the sea smell and brininess, but really can't bring myself to eat more than one raw oyster about every 3 years. Just too, well, mollosk-like, to take on a regular basis.

7:34 AM, October 18, 2010  
Anonymous meghan said...

It's always a lovely experience to give something a shot that you think is awful and find out it that it can actually be something fantastic! Beautiful pictures as well.

2:19 PM, October 18, 2010  
Blogger Ashley said...

This pre-oyster routine sounds like what I have to do before using a Neti Pot. Except I'm pretty sure the end result of your situation is better.

4:54 PM, October 18, 2010  
Blogger red ticking said...

delicious post (he he) i know i have the same reaction to clams... i love the walrus... eat there every chance i get.. and i am glad you are willing to love an oyster again! xx

7:20 PM, October 18, 2010  
Blogger Heather @ chiknpastry said...

i'm right there with ya! i hated oysters the first time i tried one, all grimy and gritty. but then i gave it another chance and they are just as you describe - flavor everywhere!!

now i want oysters. at 10 PM.

8:09 PM, October 18, 2010  
Anonymous Nooks and Cranberries said...

So happy to have The Walrus and the Carpenter nearby. I've been there a couple of times since they opened this summer, and it's truly a treat. The Muscadet and oysters were a wonderful combination the other night!

9:19 PM, October 18, 2010  
Anonymous Emilia said...

Molly,

I actually had oysters for the first time at Delancey last fall. I love them and I think they are such a natural combination with a delicious, thin-crusted, wood-fired pizza. And wine! One must not forget wine. Wine, pizza and oysters together is perfection.

I loved your story - particularly the part about the dad you met on the plane sharing oysters with his son. It's an odd thing to eat, but they sure do bring people together.

11:53 PM, October 18, 2010  
Blogger EAT! said...

It is a love or hate thing with raw oysters. There is no I kinda like them. But me. I love them.

3:33 AM, October 19, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yum...oysters! What a great topic. I'm on the East Coast so don't get to try the West Coast oysters often. I will say the Mississipi/Louisiana ones are fantastic, plump, sweet and salty. We eat ours with a little bit of cocktail sauce and swallow them whole. I cannot imagine chewing them!!!
We were traveling through Tidewater Va and found a little restaurant off the beaten path that made the BEST oysters Rockefeller....I could write an entire post about these. They were so different from the ones I have had in other places and need to make a trip back there again soon. So if you are ever traveling through backwoods coastal Virginia, stop in at Sandpiper Reef and see if you can get the chef to make you up a plate (or two!)

Love this post...you could write about oysters every week and it would never get old!

Becky

5:29 AM, October 19, 2010  
Blogger Carrie said...

This is a beautifully crafted entry. The imagery of the man talking about his son and their oyster tradition is the stuff that memorable writing is made of...thanks for sharing!

7:13 AM, October 19, 2010  
Anonymous Frau Sonntag said...

Great post! I don't love oysters, but I like them. Does that make sense?
But living more than thousands miles from the sea, I don't really have to care about it:-) Nevertheless, I love mussels and all kind of seafood! But living that far from the sea, to me it doesn't really make sense eating seafood...

11:58 AM, October 19, 2010  
OpenID Merry & Mod said...

I once heard a quote on NPR (that I'm sure to bungle): a brave man was he who first ate an oyster. Your words and photos are beautiful. The image of the brunette with the Hobo wallet and Moleskine notebook is especially striking - perhaps because those two objects are my constant companions!

1:49 PM, October 19, 2010  
Blogger indigo said...

Add me to the (apparently) very large club of people who overcame fear & learned to love oysters! For me, a description written by Ruth Reichl turned up the volume on my very quiet hunch that the taste might be worth acquiring. If I hadn't read hers, I'm sure this post would have done it.

Beautiful writing, beautiful photos, as always! Thank you!

6:37 PM, October 19, 2010  
Anonymous pamb said...

awww good for you. really! i love a person who will overcome their food prejudices simply on principle. i must confess i'm not much of an oyster lover. i make oyster stuffing once a year and that suffices. i am married to an oyster lover and i so love the look on his face of pure joy as he "slides one down". now the look on my face probably isn't as pleasant but whatevs, right? ;-)

8:41 PM, October 19, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there Molly. Gwynyth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter gave you a shoutout but the link takes you to the wrong website. Hopefully they will correct it soon so that more people can discover your wonderful food blog. Kudos.

9:15 PM, October 19, 2010  
Anonymous Maryfe said...

My Dad also used to shuck oysters when I was a kid. Unlike you though, I was the type that kept going back for more :)
I have always loved oysters. I eat them when I am stressed.. when I need to feel good. It's a plus that I know how to shuck them coz I just buy them fresh at the seafood market and eat them straight unadorned. I actually like the texture- how it's plump and just bursts in your mouth then becomes creamy as you chew.

10:29 PM, October 19, 2010  
Anonymous Stacey P said...

42 years ago my dad paid me $5 to eat an oyster.That was the first, last and only time I have ever eaten an oyster. You have almost made me want to try it again...almost. Maybe i will read that one more time.

7:51 AM, October 20, 2010  
OpenID Jacqui said...

Nice, Molly :) I was trying to think if I had a similar experience with oysters, and it was hard to come up with anything since I've been pretty fond of them for quite some time. It finally came to me, and I remember that one Christmas almost two decades ago, my sister made oyster stew. I knew my dad would inevitably hold our presents hostage until we sampled a significant spoonful, with him as our witness. I'm almost positive there were tears involved. But I did it, and then not again for a very long time, like you. It's the same with asparagus for me. Choked down as a kid, gleefully enjoyed as bigger (and older) human being.

10:42 AM, October 20, 2010  
Blogger Colleen said...

My dad was always encouraging me to try new foods and after escargot, oysters weren't quite as scary or intimidating but still a little of both of those given the slightly odd texture. But, your description of the first time you ate an oyster and then "growing into" eating oysters reminded me a lot of my own experience with oysters. Thanks for sharing this.

1:22 PM, October 20, 2010  
OpenID erika said...

I love your writing. Who knew there could be so much to say about eating an oyster?! You're a great storyteller.

Not sure how you eat them but here in TX we dip them in cocktail sauce mixed with lots of horseradish because we must have spice and flavor, and perhaps we're trying to mask the taste of oysters from the Gulf? I can't eat them much anymore though. I became a vegan for four months for health purposes, and ever since I came back to the other side, the texture has really bothered me!

4:08 PM, October 20, 2010  
Anonymous Ilke said...

I just can say that I can eat anything that comes from sea. Hope we can keep them clean so that we can enjoy even oysters:)

The only reason I had an oysterphobia for a while was that I got confused once and talked long and long about oyster eggs while I meant ostrich eggs! In my defense, English is my second language but my husband never let it go!

5:37 PM, October 20, 2010  
Blogger Chris said...

When I worked as a line cook, one of my cohorts used to refer to oysters as "elephant boogers". Even that didn't ruin them for me.

9:57 PM, October 20, 2010  
Anonymous Anne said...

Somehow I missed this musing, and boy do I love it. I grew up in Utah, and there weren't a lot of oysters around. I didn't have one till I was 28,and with a man I was falling madly in love with. It was a life changing bite.

11:42 AM, October 21, 2010  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Molly - This is the first time I've commented on your blog but not the first time you and I have corresponded. I devoured your book, fell in love with your writing, went to Paris for 3 weeks, and visited loads of the places you recommended to me via your very kind email!

After many years of dreaming, I finally had the courage to start my own blog about food&nutrition, in part because of the inspiration you provided and my increased awareness (through people like you) of just how passionate I too am about food. It's called The Sweet Beet (www.thesweetbeet.com) Come by for a visit ... I will most certainly be back here again and again ...

7:02 PM, October 21, 2010  
Anonymous Sadaf said...

Hi Molly,

I've been through your blog over and over again. Love your stories,love your writing and am currently getting jealous of the commenter above me!
I live in Pakistan and haven't seen your book in any of the bookstores I frequent.So, still waiting to get it and read.

8:55 AM, October 22, 2010  
Blogger Julietta said...

@Ashley: Neti Pot, hahaaaaaaaaa! I love the taste of oysters, the "now here, now there," can deal with small and fresh and a bit of chew (would not even dream of swallowing whole!), but as soon as I even THINK about the phlegmy, snotball, chewy, booger qualities they do indeed possess--and c'mon, there's no denying that, folks--they almost make a return trip. So I wonder, why keep eating something I don't adore? Still, the taste keeps bringing me back, and I do eat them, perhaps 6 a year, just to keep an open mind.

8:09 AM, October 23, 2010  
Blogger Holly Keegan said...

You, your husband, a romantic vacation and a lunch of champagne and oysters. It could change your life. :)

12:14 PM, October 23, 2010  
Anonymous gastroanthropologist said...

15 years ago oysters made me gag, now I can shoot a dozen and have to keep myself from ordering another dozen.

Last night I made the spaghetti and meatballs you wrote about in bon appetit for dinner. I heard my husband rummaging in the kitchen at 1AM eating cold spaghetti and meatballs and then I piled some high on garlic bread this morning for breakfast! I made the full recipe for just the two of us and we can't wait for lunch. Definitely my new go to spaghetti and meatball recipe.

3:55 AM, October 24, 2010  
Anonymous Leah said...

I'm so glad you are finally learning to like oysters. I looove oysters. We eat them by the sackful in the Philippines. And I must have spent every single cent I had whenever I'm in Paris/Luxembourg - ordering all the different kinds of oysters.

Thanks for a wonderful post!

~Leah
(http://simplesplendidthings.wordpress.com)

6:06 PM, October 24, 2010  
Blogger Grace said...

In August I bought a dozen oysters from Taylor Shellfish and grilled them in a Capitol Hill courtyard overlooking Seattle. They were delicious, briny, fresh, and tender after about 3 minutes on the covered grill--the perfect accompaniment for a summer sunset in Seattle. I recommend grilled oysters with any kind of dipping sauce (butter and herb, cocktail, hot, olive oil and herb) for squeamish eaters.

You could also try hangtown fry (scrambled eggs and oysters), the historic treat of California miners and loggers.

1:07 PM, October 25, 2010  
Anonymous Erin said...

The best oysters I've ever had were picked off a beach in Desolation Sound. My man and I swam to shore with a few beers and an oyster knife and ate and ate and ate. Delicious. And a wonderful memory...

I've been meaning to head over to The Walrus & The Carpenter, and now, after reading this post, it has moved to the top of my list! Thanks!

8:02 PM, October 26, 2010  
Anonymous Daphne Sullivan said...

Your photographs are always so beautiful. What camera do you use to take them?

9:11 PM, October 26, 2010  
Blogger Caroline said...

I love this. And I think I am close to the 225 year mark. The last- and only- oyster I ate was when I was about 13. So it's been 20 years, I suppose. I tried to swallow it- they pulled it right out of the water onto the boat where I was traveling on an 8th grade trip and it stuck in my throat. I could not get it down, I gagged, and coughed it out.

This boy then snatched it- ew ew ew- and made my friend Tori swear she'd go out with him if he ate it. They went on only one date, but I have never eaten another oyster.

However, your post does give me hope.

12:06 AM, October 28, 2010  
Anonymous Kruzon said...

I was in Sandiego Ca oyster bar when I first did my fresh oysters. Back then they were 6 for a dollar. Then I got a taste for the shooters putting the oyster in the shot glass first then the red oyster sauce then horse radish and shoot it with only one bit! Just plain awesome!

12:08 AM, October 28, 2010  
Blogger Laurie said...

I too was never an oyster eater until I was forced into it (I guess dared). Now I can't get enough of them and have to have them just after their opened with all of that briny seawater. Yummmm!

4:40 PM, October 28, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Thanks, Daphne! I shoot with old film cameras, and I love what they do. I often use Polaroid cameras and Polaroid instant film for my blog shots, but for this particular post, I used a Nikon FE 35mm camera and Kodak Portra 400NC film.

5:56 PM, October 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, so i am 4 years old and my mother takes me to red lobster (blech) and orders oysters - she puts one that looks to me like something someone just hacked up on a saltine cracker and orders me to eat it - while i am disgustedly chewing, she says "you know, it's still alive" - i sprayed oyster all over the table, all over the booth, and all over her - i am 37 and i haven't had one since!

7:51 PM, October 28, 2010  
Blogger Bronwen said...

I love your recipes, I love your stories and rich connections between food and family, and I *really* love your beautiful writing. This paragraph is one of my favorites ever (this is Bronwen -- I sent you my "pink Cookie" poems once): "I made everyone look away, and then I ate it. Only one, and it was tiny, but I ate it. I chewed and everything. I didn’t die. And when I swallowed, the flavor rang around my mouth the way the ringing of a bell ricochets inside a cathedral, now here, now there, and it did that for maybe ten seconds, now here, now there, before it dissipated. It tasted like seawater and melon and wet rocks. I didn’t even hate it. I almost liked it." thanks*

9:35 AM, November 09, 2010  
Blogger Mommy of three said...

First, you must read this comment with the knowledge that I am 8 weeks pregnant and on the verge of hormonal insanity.
Second, I wanted to say that I have not read your blog, or any blog in about 2 months (tired and sick and food writing, especially, didn't sit well) and I am just catching up today.
This post made me cry.
Your writing, your photographs, the way you capture so much beauty and feeling as you tell me about oysters--it moved me.
Maybe it was the man from Texas and his son.
I am glad to be back.
And I thought you should know.

I am still terrified of oysters though. I don't know if I'll ever be able to summon your courage.
Love from,
Greta

3:12 PM, November 12, 2010  
Blogger Ταχυδρόμος! said...

Oysters rock..

5:12 AM, November 22, 2010  
Anonymous Shut Up and Cook said...

Glad you came on over to the dark side! I find oysters most enjoyable in shooters with a good vodka.

Here's how we rang in the New Year.

Oyster Shooters and Oysters on the Half Shell http://wp.me/puWta-9B

Happy 2011!

5:06 PM, January 02, 2011  
Anonymous Jess @ ThisIsWhatIAte said...

(Long time reader, first time commenter. Hi.)
Isn't it funny how new flavors and new foods grow on us, sometimes so slowly?

I had my first oyster at age 25 on the beach in Homer, Alaska. It's still not something I can eat all the time, but it seems important to know how.

1:17 PM, January 04, 2011  
Blogger Bella Mills said...

I love reading through your older posts Molly. I grew up with oysters and have a somewhat different perspective (I LOVE them) but your descriptions, as always is so entertaining. Thank you.
Oh and that picture you took of the back of the brunette girl at the bar. Beautiful Did you take it with the Pentax K 1000? You know, you inspired me to purchase one. It's in the mail as I type :) Even if you took it with a different camera, it's still a stunning picture. I feel like I'm there, at the other end of the bar.
Bella @ seaandsalt.com
xx

5:56 AM, February 09, 2013  

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