I'd heard just as many awful things about raw oysters as I had good so my curiosity had been piqued for quite some time. My prior attempts to order these strange creatures at restaurants had been thwarted by them being out of season or not in stock at the time so I jumped at my recent opportunity to indulge while patronizing a local shack at the end of a dock.
And when the six monstrosities arrived on a plate I was fully expecting to enjoy my experience. I love raw fish and like cooked oysters so how could this be much different?
The sensation had been described to me before but I'd thought it an exaggeration; eating raw oysters is like swallowing a mouthful of phlegm. But not just any phlegm, mind you, but the kind coughed up in the midst of a horrid bacterial infection or after a long bender involving smoky bars and student parties. I was instructed to swallow them whole, sliding the grey ball of mucous down the back of my throat with a few shell particles and pieces of sand. Wanting to get a complete experience, I even chewed a couple of them but the gelatinous texture was far too disgusting, particularly with all of the grit scraping against my teeth. And what to say of the taste? I guess it wouldn't have been much different from cooked oysters if it weren't for the thick mucous membrane that tasted like, well, mucous.
The last couple mollusks were a challenge but my pyloric sphincter is strong and I was able to prevent them from hurtling back up, despite the nausea and slight heaves. I can't fathom the appeal and won't be volunteering for a repeat experience any time soon but I'm happy to have tried them nonetheless. For now I'll stick with the cooked variety.