« clocks go forward and I miss my flight | Main | portuguese water dog? »


April 8, 2009

J’aime les huitres, mais ils ne m’aiment pas.’ I like oysters but they don’t like me. It’s a joke I’ve made many times in France, always with great success. Oysters, I explain whenever I’m offered them, always seek a very fast exit from my body.

Without wishing to sound like an oyster snob, the only kind I can eat without being ill are size 3 ‘specials’ ie smaller oysters that have been turned several times. (I only know about bivalve sizing because my former French boyfriend now owns an oyster bar on the Ile de Ré.)

And so when Luis arrives with oysters and a bottle of port to celebrate my final evening before leaving (again) for London, it’s a struggle to look delighted. (I'm also too polite to tell him that I'm not a fan of his national aperitif).

As Luis empties the craggy marine mollusks into the sink, I realise with a sinking feeling that they are size 1's - the biggest oysters but the most likely to make you ill since they’ve been hanging around in the sea soaking up toxins for eight years (size 3's on the other hand, are smaller, but have only been lurking there for six.)

Still, the evening is not without its compensations, namely watching my super-macho boyfriend expertly prising the oysters from their shells - or as expertly as is possible with a pen knife and no oyster glove. (With or without the correct kit, opening oysters counts in my top three most attractive skills in a man, along with chopping firewood and dealing with flat tyres).

But back to the oysters. Against my better instincts I eat half a dozen of the sluggy looking bivalves in succession, while trying to look ecstatic. Five hours later, I wake up with that predictable feeling of nausea and spend the rest of the night making forays to the bathroom to throw up. Fortunately, Luis is asleep and doesn’t notice. Oysters the food of love? Not for everyone.

comments (5)

1. Posted by Eagle_Wings on April 8, 2009 7:25 PM

Oh, poor you! I had my first oysters earlier in the year and am "addicted" when given the chance, I think they were size 3, with a nice Muscadet (I think) to accompany them. As for a pen knife, that must have been quite a tough job...:-)

2. Posted by mimi pompom on April 8, 2009 8:36 PM

Hello Eagle Wings,

size threes with a chilled glass of muscadet sounds delicious and vastly preferable to size ones with port! And yes, opening them with a penknife (albeit it quite a fancy looking one) and without an oyster glove was not easy.


3. Posted by Eagle_Wings on April 8, 2009 10:17 PM

Eagle Wings was not paying, it was a treat after having poured over my budget figures on an Excel spreadsheet prior to student-dom and I can definitely recommend the oyster bar at Borough Market.

However, you should have entitled this blog "huitres", I believe, whilst in France....I'm sure Luis was quite nifty with his pen knife all the same.

Happy Easter!

4. Posted by Susie on April 9, 2009 7:11 PM

Oh dear - oysters and port, not an ideal combination. Still, they always say that it's the thought that counts, and clearly this was a well-intentioned gift. The outcome was probably inevitable, whatever size the oysters were. :-)

I'm not a great fan myself and usually avoid them; however, having enjoyed some excellent specimens on New Year's Eve, I may have been re-converted. But definitely not with port. A nice Pouilly Fume more likely. Perhaps if you keep a bottle in the fridge you could pre-empt any future port and save it for a "very special occasion". :-)

5. Posted by mimi pompom on April 13, 2009 12:55 AM

Excellent suggestion Susie on how to get out of drinking port!

post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)