I threw up the first time I tried an oyster. To me, they just looked like a bogey in a shell and I wouldn’t have even gone near them had I not been surrounded by my family’s excited squeals when they saw they were on the menu, their ‘Mmm’s’ and ‘Aaahs’ as they ate them, and their desperately trying to hold back ordering more after they’d finished. I wouldn’t have even gone near them had I not wanted to experience the same pleasure they were. But I did and so tentatively I picked one up, I smothered it in lemon juice, tabasco, and black pepper, I closed my eyes and I put it in my mouth.
Chew. This isn’t so bad. Chew. It’s actually quite tasty. Chew. Ugh, what, gross-gooey-slimy-crunchy-bogey-mucas-snotty. Spew.
It was not one of my classiest moments, but I was more annoyed than embarrassed – I didn’t see what the big deal was and I was really hoping I would. And so the next time my family ordered oysters I tried another one, but the same thing happened. And the same thing happened the third time. The fourth time, my Dad got pissed off and said I couldn’t have one because it was a waste. The great thing about having divorced parents, however, is that I pretty much have two separate families who both love oysters and so I got a second chance.
It took a while for this second chance to come around because oysters aren’t as cheap in Scotland as they are in Canada, but eventually, my other family ordered some one night on holiday. It was killing me that they were just as excited as the others and so I tried another one.
Chew. Chew. Swallow.
I managed to keep the oyster down! But I still felt a little cheated because I was just eating them for the sake of eating them – I was not really savouring and enjoying them. Tonight, however, for the first time, just around half past ten, I tried an oyster, and I LOVED it. I literally can’t stop thinking about it – it was so fresh and delicious! It tasted like the sea, but without the burning sensation and with a wee hint of tabasco and lemon juice. The oyster I had tonight was probably one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten.
You might be thinking that this is one of the saddest things you’ve ever read and believe me, I’m thinking it might be one of the saddest things I’ve ever written, but there might be some other food lovers who’ll share my joy? When it comes to food, I can eat pretty much anything as long as it’s cooked the way it should be. I don’t hate any food, I’m just indifferent towards the food I don’t find as interesting or tasty – like cauliflower. Seriously, if it’s not smothered in gravy and cheese sauce, what is good about cauliflower? And low fat butter – might as well spread air on your toast, it will taste the same. But these things I can eat; with oysters, it was looking like a physical impossibility. I wasn’t just indifferent towards them; I hated them. And all these years it’s been bugging the hell out of me because I don’t like hating food and I kept thinking that if someone was to ever make me oysters, I wouldn’t be able to clear my plate. And I can’t have that.
But now, I will not only be able to clear my plate; I will enjoy doing it too and will most likely wish there were more. I’ve heard that tastes can change – that people can go from loving something to hating it or vice versa, but I don’t know whether the fact that I now love oysters is because it’s been twelve years since the first time I tried one or because I’ve just trained myself to like them or because my family’s ‘Mmm’s’ and ‘Aaah’s’ have conditioned my taste buds; either way, I now love something I used to hate.
And so maybe those Brussels sprouts haters could give them a try next Christmas? I do feel sorry for the poor lads.