As a child, I feared certain foods. Bird's nest, sharks fin & snow fungus. These foods have a common property of getting stuck in my throat, their half-slimy, half scratchy texture switches on my gag reflex and I'd rather eat a plate of raw peppers than attempt to swallow them.
Later I added raw oysters to this list of food that made me retch, the cold bulbous mass sliding down the throat uneasily. The taste, overwhelmingly metallic and briney, didn't agree with me and the only way I would eat them would be in shooters, welcoming the alcohol and other parts of the cocktails as distraction.
These past few weeks though, walking past endless displays of oysters at the markets and outside every other restaurant and cafe, I wondered if I had given this shellfish its due. The only way to settle this question was to go to a good seafood place and order a plate of the freshly shucked specimens. Sipping some chilled white wine for support, I tried one. Then another, and another.
Pretty soon, I finished them all, and ordered another half dozen of my favourite. I cannot remember the name now, but it was lusciously rich and tasted surprisingly of crisp white vegetables, the finish luxuriantly long and lingering. It's texture didn't bother me, they went down a little too fast, helped along by the sweet liquor in the shell. Ah well, better late than never. We are in the middle of winter, I have plenty of time to catch up.