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The Great Oyster Incident of 2006

Holly Bergman, Editor

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“The world is your oyster” is a saying that I never fully understood. I knew that oysters represented the world, and my own experiences and I are the pearl inside, but what I did understand fully is that I really liked oysters. Or, at least, I used to.

Until the great oyster incident of 2006, my family and I would eat oysters fairly frequently. We were such fans that we used to go to the Oyster Shucking Festival every year in Solomon’s Island, Maryland. We used to make the three hour trek to the southernmost tip of Maryland just to see the contestants from around America (most often the East Coast) compete to shuck all of their oysters in record time. At the 2006 Oyster Shucking Festival, the ripe age of seven-years-old, I took it upon myself to be adventurous and slurp down a raw oyster, freshly shucked by contestant George Hastings.

Oysters are slimy, little, gray blobs that reside in their own juices, and they quiver if they are poked. They sit inside of a dirty, half seashell that some oysterman somewhere dredged from the deep. How appetizing. Seven-year-old me had obtained one, and slurped the bitter, gummy substance down. At least, this is what I was anticipating at the time, but when the oyster dropped into my mouth, I was scandalized and betrayed. I was met with a mouthful of sand. The grainy bits grazed my teeth and tongue, making a horrible crunching noise. The awful taste of dirt and salt flooded my mouth, and I gagged. I haven’t had an oyster since then.

Even though I had a horrible experience, that doesn’t stop the rest of my family’s love of oysters and oyster dishes. We still frequently make oyster-themed meals (oyster casserole, oyster stuffing for Thanksgiving, oyster stew, and just raw or steamed oysters in general), and although I don’t care for them now, if one is partial to oysters, then the meals are very enjoyable.

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The Great Oyster Incident of 2006