Sunday, September 28, 2008

Consider the oyster, if you please

Let us all thank MFK Fisher for asking so politely that her readers "consider" the oyster. This slim (only 96 pages!) yet potent book, like its protagonist, is a must read merely for the pleasure of learning the evolution of your oyster before down the hatch it goes. Often considered a summer read, I challenge you to read it this fall cozied up in your house while it's chilly outside (if you're from Texas like I am, you may have to wait until at least December to experience this scene).

Fisher opens with a brief, witty history of the short life of an oyster (titled Love and Death Among the Mollusks) followed by numerous eloquent descriptions of oyster recipes. Raw, stewed, served with crusty brown bread, used in creamy soups, Fisher describes different uses for oysters from San Francisco to Boston. Never having eaten oysters, I closed the book halfway out the door on my way to the nearest oyster bar. Fisher describes in such lemony detail a meal of raw oysters and white wine that you are almost sure to have a Goliath-sized craving by the time you have finished reading.

We should all indulge the author and contribute to the well-being of the oyster community. She asked so nicely, after all.

An excerpt from Consider the Oyster:

"An oyster leads a dreadful but exciting life.

Indeed, his chance to live at all is slim, and if he should survive the arrows of his own outrageous fortune and in the two weeks of his carefree youth find a clean smooth place to fix on, the years afterwards are full of stress, passion and danger."

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