By Lauren Kelly Bridges (former oyster specialist, Zingerman’s Roadhouse)
It is quite an understatement to say that it was a brave man who first ate an oyster. A triumph of nature, a feat of gastronomy, the act of consuming a raw oyster is equivalent to skydiving in the food world. Picture it: You, gripping the shell, liquor spilling over the lip of the valve, the meat of the oyster calling out to be swallowed. But, as an adventurous eater, you take that dive; and as soon as the oyster hits your lips, you are in bivalve heaven. An oyster is a rush, a curiosity, even a taboo, but decidedly an indulgence set aside for those who are eager to dabble in the daring side of the culinary world.
The taste of a raw oyster is unparalleled- sweet, salty, and unequivocally, of the sea. Between the shells lies a treasure, a gift journeyed from far away depths to give you, fearless gourmand, a personal tour of the ocean. The raw meat of an oyster speaks of the waters it came from, whether the pure cold bodies surrounding Prince Edward Island, or the rough brackish currents of Washington State. It tells the story of how it came to you; the language of each oysters life is transcribed into its taste, its flavor, and its profile.
The thrill of eating raw oysters takes us to another place. The sea beckons us to imbibe its sweetness, to revel in its wares. The crisp rush of brine as we slurp, bite, and swallow is like no other. So, strap in, take the plunge. Eat the oyster.