do you slurp or chew?

Amuse Bouche: Raw oyster and sausage
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I was watching this episode of Bobby Flay today on the Food Network (I promise, it was only because Tourondel of the BLT was visiting. Believe me, I did not watch it to see Flay deep fry the hell out of cod and potatoes for “fish and chips,” on the other hand, watching/hearing Flay attempt to count to ten in French was a gut-buster. Incidentally, while Flay’s doing his low down boy-meets grill in a vat of fat act, Tourondel responds with an elegently fried-whole red snapper… I digress).

One of the the courses he prepares is an “Oyster and caramelized pan roast. He slurps one raw to “test it.” That reminded me of one of the proufoundest mysteries: why would anyone (and I think the vast majority of people I’ve seen downing the half-shells) slurp/swallow a raw oyster without chewing it? I feel like it wastes the enjoyment of the wonderfully briney taste and the opulent experience of biting down into the shellfishes silky plumpness… letting the satiny-smooth being slip between tongue and cheek… sigh…

[Note: The amuse bouche of oyster and sliced sausages (above) was had at L’Os à Moelle in Paris. You can see my entire meal by clicking on the photo. I hope to review the restaurant in the near future.]

I suspect why a lot of (you?) people bypass this, what I consider the highlight of raw oyster-eating, experience is because they don’t like the texture or taste, or both, of the creatures. I bet my description above made you types uncomfortable. If so – then why eat them at all?

First Course: Zeeland oyster on
smoked eel and carpaccio of beef, avocado creme.
Shallot vinaigrette. Cucumber sorbet.

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Now I know there are supposed to be aphrodesiacal qualities attributed to oysters, but I doubt you’re taking oyster “shots” for their supposed Viagra-like effects – as they are expensive, a potential health risk (only very slightly, I roll my eyes – unless a). you’re pregnant, in which case I would force you to put down that shell – and give it to me :) or b). it came from contaminated waters ) and, apparently, unpleasant on your palate…

Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t get it – is there some sort of extra pleasure from slurping that you can’t get from chewing? I’ve tried it a couple of times and always kick myself for having wasted a perfeclty good chew-gasmic experience…

[Note: The fat Zeeland Oyster was had at three-michelin starred Hof van Cleve.]

~ by ulterior epicure on January 22, 2006.

4 Responses to “do you slurp or chew?”

  1. I thought I was the only one who actually liked chewing my raw oysters so I can get the full taste of them. Many hours of sneering “discussions” with my epicurean friends over this. Interesting post.

  2. No, your description didn’t make me wince — it made me smile. And this, although I despise oysters! I often think that the food you describe eating would taste revolting, but you describe it in such a lovely fashion and communicate so well the joy you get from the experience of eating that I enjoy food vicariously I’d never eat in real life.

    Lucky you, to enjoy so much so well.

  3. Oysters are manna from heaven! I graduated from slurping to chewing after about a year and am glad I made the transition! When you slurp you don’t really get the true briny taste of the oysters. I think it’s one of those great divisions of society, like moaners vs. gaspers, or ant bladders vs. camel bladders. And yes, now I consider slurpers to be wimps.

  4. i don’t know that i see slurpers as wimps… just really pity them for what they’re missing!


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