I was in Whitstable in Kent at the weekend.
There are many things to do in Whitstable but eating oysters is top of the list. There were two kinds of oyster on sale: the native oyster and the rock oyster.
The natives (Ostrea edulis) are about twice the size of the rock (Crassostrea gigas), so I went for the big ones first (above). They were grandly excessive – one of them bigger than I could fit in my mouth in one go. Some of them were very sweet, some less so, all of them profoundly briny, you know, just like an oyster,
But size isn’t everything so we returned for some more, and this time went for the rock oysters (below).
I don’t know that they were better than the natives but they certainly weren’t worse – I suspect there would be some days I’d chose one, some days I’d choose the other, depending on mood. It's good to have options.
Perhaps we were lucky to find any oysters for sale at all. Earlier in the year there had been closures after a lot of people went down with food poisoning. That really would have ruined a trip to the seaside.
And then, back home, more or less coincidentally, I came across a menu I’d saved from the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, New York, which I can date precisely to Tuesday October 22nd, 2013, because it says so on the menu. How time glides.
Now I’m not saying that the American version of the English langauge is necessarily always zestier than the British version but OMG – just look at those names the Cuttyhunk, the Kumamoto (and yes OK, that probably isn't English), the Lovers Creel, the Witch Duck, and above all the Naked Cowboy which apparently looks like this:
and is named after the man who looked like this in Times Square:
We didn’t see any of that in Whitstable.
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