It took Richard Gere less than 30 seconds to teach Julia Roberts how to properly use silverware in Pretty Woman (work your way in). But that lesson lasts us a lifetime, doesn’t it? Please allow me to be your Richard Gere….when it comes to oysters.
How to eat an oyster:
There is no right way to eat an oyster. Says who? Vanity Fair, that’s who. Although this was back in 2009, to suddenly come up with an oyster eating protocol would totally be against the spirit of old money and tradition associated with these delicious aphrodisiacs, wouldn’t it? Trick question. As with many nouveau “delicacies” i.e. Chirashi (sashimi pieces over vinegar rice), oysters were inexpensive and eaten mainly by the working class.
My how-to suggestion? Like with the silverware, do what makes sense.
- Use the little fork to make sure the oyster is detached from the shell.
- Use a condiment if you like i.e. lemon, cocktail sauce, or mignonette. I like it tart so I always use mignonette (clear, vinegar based). Pronounced minion-ette. Click here to hear how Webster’s Dictionary says it.
- I tilt the shell like I’m going to drink from it, and use the little fork to push the oyster into my mouth. People slurp it. But Vanity Fair says I can do whatever the hell I want.
- Chew and swallow it. Are there really people who are just swallowing it? Yeah, don’t do that.
What oyster to choose:
If you’ve never had oysters, they are all probably going to taste like the sea. But, it is an acquired taste that is SO worth it. Oysters are usually named after places, because how they taste depends on geography–i.e. how salty the water is, and what types of minerals are in the area.
When Restauranteur and James Beard nominated Chef, Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek and Row 34 of Boston, MA), isn’t familiar with an oyster, here’s what is in his head (aka interviewed by the Wall Street Journal):
By Coast (very generally):
- East Coast: brinier (essentially saltier)
- West Coast: sweeter
Think of it like you would the people who live there. Just kidding.
By size, he favors:
- Smaller–tend to be slightly metallic
- Olympias (about the size of a quarter)
- West Coast Kumamoto (brinier)
- Slightly larger–all below are “really briny”
- Massachusetts Pemaquids
- Massachusetts Sunken Meadows
- Rhode Island East Beach Blondes
- Meatier oysters–“newer” named ones
- Shigoku, like the Kumamoto, deep, meaty, round, briny, sweet
- Massachusetts Moon Shoal, briny
- Massachusetts Rocky Nook, sweet, mineral
Oysters larger than 4.5″-5″, according to Sewall, are too big. HOWEVER, please DO NOT try to impress your date by asking if the oysters are under 4.5″-5″ because that is how you like them. It doesn’t show how much you know, just what a douche you are.
Are oysters aphrodisiacs?
I don’t know of any oyster/oyster product to win a nobel prize. Do you? But, I’ll still share with you what’s up at the rumor mill:
- They may contain some rare amino acids that trigger increased sex hormone levels.
- The texture resembles our lady parts.
- I’m guessing gold diggers everywhere associate them with $$$$.
Order online and shuck at home:
Vanity Fair suggests Fresh Direct for Bluepoint oysters/other varieties delivered to your door ($12 for a dozen). You can learn how to shuck these little suckers from Sewall’s WSJ interview (or a little something called the internet).
Eat it like you mean it,