Happy Fourth of July! I’ve just eaten a bunch of oysters to celebrate the existence of this fantastic, adolescent country.
We eat oysters often: shucked by a waiter for $1 between 4 and 7 pm at a restaurant down the street; or unshucked, with a cold glass of white wine, all of us glowing in the low sun as it spreads, orange, through the south western pines. (I like to see the sun give way to the sky. It bows out in oranges and pinks, and all the while the blue, deep purple and finally black fill in its absence with other stars.)
When the oysters aren’t shucked, I hold the full shell in my left hand, which I protect with a pot holder. With my right, I push the point of a dull knife in through the earthy base, and jiggle my wrist to ease the blade through the flaky cups. I feel the oyster give, the shell releases, and I pry it open. Inside sits a little oyster, and I eat it with lemon and maybe a little vinegar and onion. It is cold, sweet and slippery, salty with ocean and gritty with a little shell sludge. I’ve heard oysters are only to be eaten in months that are spelled with the letter “r,” but I find them just as tasty in those that begin with “ju.”