The oyster may be the most sublime food. They are definitely one of most sensual. More than food, they are passion and metaphor.
On the outside, we feel sharp, craggy calcium carbonate layers of oyster shell, self created by secreting proteins and minerals from their mantle extracellularly, the oyster constantly growing new layers of shell, their physical presence enlarging as they grow.
This hard and dangerous exterior holds its secrets tightly, as opening an oyster, ah shucks, is an art form itself. There are specific tools needed, the oyster knife, wielded by the expert shucker, old Shucky, careful, you may want to wear a glove made of metal mesh, otherwise risking cuts from the shell or a slip of the knife. But once the vise-like grip of the muscles, holding its inner secrets intact is broken, a salty brine weeps.
Inside we feel a shell so smooth and porcelain. You may even find a pearl! And then there is the oyster itself. Shimmery, moist, so many layers of feminine deliciousness. This oyster object of desire, slurp worthy, your tongue wants to explore the folds and lips dare I say of the smooth little button of muscle at its centre.
Or you might just want to slurp it dow, drawing it into your receiving mouth, letting it slide down your throat, the oyster and the brine, accented with the tang of lemon or perhaps a bit of vinegar, a splash of hot sauce or a mignonette, which translates roughly into "cute, small, and tasty”.
I was reading a Substack post today from Alicia Kennedy, about her vegan relationship with the oyster- she makes an exception for this bivalve. And I wanted to comment on her page with my most memorable experience with oysters, but I was shut down by her Subscriber paywall- no money, no comments welcome.
So here we are, inside my own non- paywall. Here, my friends, is my memory of the night of Oysters and Stout where I met the infamous Oysterman, Brent Petkau.
Brent is a mountain of a man, big beard, big laugh, and a generous knowledge of all things oyster. He is the Oysterman. https://vimeo.com/32602676?embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=3637760