Can you eat oysters?

This is the beach where my grandparents lived – where I spent every school holiday for years – summer, autumn and winter.  It is where my mother taught me to open oysters.

Wanda Beach

thanks to Little Ones for photo

We’d walk along the beach to the rocks on the point and sit there just above the waterline, feet dangling in the water, little tiny shells prickling bare skin. She’d pry them off the rocks, open them up, take the oyster from the shell, rinse it in the salty water of the bay tilt her head back and down it went. I was fascinated and finally I accepted her offer to try one.

I was revolted. I was four or five years old.

Later the beach house was sold. It was a very sad, complex time for me being severed from childhood connections.

Eventually I tried oysters again, only we had to pay for them now. They were beautiful, I’d learnt not to chew just to swallow without gagging. And so I became and adult and oysters au naturel was my entree of choice for a long long time.

Aysters au natruel

Thanks to The Brazilian for the photo

One evening my lips started tingling, a little at first but it quickly got worse. My throat was closing up and that, too, got worse. I was very, very frightened. It turned out to be an adult onset allergy to oysters and shellfish and I now have to carry an epipen.

But I also carry with me the taste and feel of those Port Stephens oysters as they slid so smoothly down. I can smell the beach and feel the warm sun on my skin as in my mind I watch my mother shuck the oysters and delight in their bliss.

How about you? Can you eat oysters? Do you have delightful memories of things which you can no longer indulge in? Places from your childhood?

13 thoughts on “Can you eat oysters?

  1. What a beautiful memory, Margaret.

    I delight (and am sometimes saddened) about the places in my childhood memories. See, I wanted to share them with my children ~ but I married a Marine and we don’t live where I grew up. Not even close.

    I do make it there about once a year, but not enough to satisfy me and to relive and to share. So I’m left with mostly memories and stories for them.

    Loved the post!

    • Thanks Kim, I understand wanting to share our special places with our children, it can be overwhelming at times. In one sense I’m actually lucky with this particular place. When I knew it the houses were just beach / holiday places. But now, well, they cost multiple millions! The sand and the water are still there, but My Beach isn’t. Hopefully as parents we can give our children other experiences and places which they will cherish. Thanks for your comments.

  2. I do not eat oysters — the thought of something sliding down my throat. Ummm, let’s just say I can’t go there! LOL…But I have lots of childhood memories of places I can’t/don’t go any more. I was a military brat and we moved a lot until my teenage years. I loved the moving and exploring new places, but it was also hard.

    • Carrie, I can’t begin to imagine what being a “military brat” would be like. We moved 10 miles or so when I was a tween and that was bad enough! Developing the skills to love moving and exploring new places is something special – so many just can’t cope. Thanks for the comment and I promise I won’t serve you any oysters 😉

  3. I have no desire to eat oysters because if you have to swallow without chewing then that’s a sign we shouldn’t be eating it. On the other hand, I would love to hear more stories about oyster hunting.

  4. Oysters are okay with lots of lemon and hot sauce. But my childhood memory is one of New York, Rock-a-way Beach when thick fried potatoes came in small cones. The taste was unique and one I will never forget–unlike any you find today.

    • I don’t think we’ve got anything like that here – but it sounds delicious. I love the way all this blogging brings back so many delicious memorise – thanks for sharing yours.

  5. That’s one thing I can’t bear the thought of. My auntie bought some once and gave everyone else some. My one chance missed and I do not regret it. I’ve eaten some other interesting things though – yikes!

  6. When we were kids my Dad used to get raw clams. He’d shuck them and eat them, washing them down with beer. My sister was the only one brave enough to try it – although she was a little young for the beer chaser.

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