Raw Oysters and Other Weird Foods

This is, after all, a blog about politics, animals, food, books…and the occasional insect.

The occasion is that my boss came to town this week on Tuesday night, planning to spend Wednesday and Thursday with me, and leave Friday morning.  But on Tuesday night he ate some oysters.  Now there are only certain trustworthy places here where you can eat oysters this far from the coast.  If he had asked me, I would have told him.

Wednesday he showed up in my office about 11:30 A.M. when I was already at another meeting, went to lunch with my client, and my client later said, “He hardly ate anything–I knew something was wrong then”.  That’s a snide remark.  My boss is a really big guy.  And the client is a shrimp (to continue the food theme).  Of course, I am a shrimp too.  We shrimp are a little amazed by the amount of food a person twice our size can put away.  But the client makes it a criticism–as if he is some noble being, and my boss is merely a glutton.

So on Wednesday, I ended up only seeing my boss for an hour, because he was too sick to stay at work.

Thursday morning, when I hadn’t heard from him by 9:30 A.M., I called him, and got voicemail.  He never answered.  At 12:30 P.M., I called again, and got voicemail again.  He also never answered that.  At that point I had a whole rescue plan in place.

I was going to call his hotel and find out if he was still registered. If he was, I was going to go there, speak to Management and ask that they go with me to his room.  I would insist on a response, and if he was too sick to get up or didn’t respond at all, I would ask Management to let me in.  Then if he was there, I would call an ambulance.  I would have them take him to Tallahassee Memorial ER and I would meet them there.  Then I would call his boss.

But at 2:30 P.M. he finally sent me an email, the subject being “Alive but not well”.  He said he was sorry for the inconvenience.  Maybe he went to the ER on his own.  I hope so.

Now that I know he is okay, I want to kill him.  I wasn’t inconvenienced, you…Idiot!  I was scared to death!

The things that can go wrong with raw oysters are legion.  And people who are more sensitive than others can die.  Let me clarify:  DIE.

Whoever it is who inspects the oyster beds in the Gulf (the FDA?) do a very good job, and will temporarily shut down oyster beds where there is a risk.

One of the most common risks is E. coli.  Then, there is Norovirus.  But the worst and scariest is Vibrio vulnificus.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibrio_vulnificus

So will I still eat raw oysters?  Probably so.

A brief posting about this on Facebook engendered a lively discussion about who first said, I bet you could eat one of those?  My favorite example has always been lobster.  Who first said, if we can figure out how to kill one of these, I bet we could eat it?  My other favorite is artichoke hearts.  Sea urchin has now been suggested as well.

There are actually quite a few foods that fit that category, as well as foods that someone tried for the first time and died doing it.  Then somebody said, I bet we could still eat it if we cooked it/took off the skin/only ate it during a full moon.  We humans are truly the ultimate omnivores.

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3 responses to “Raw Oysters and Other Weird Foods

  1. Barnacle Bill’s was advertising a dozen oysters for $5 last week.

    But if you want to be kosher, check out the Jewish Food Fest Sunday, March 11, at Temple Israel. We’ll be there! Hopefully around 11 before they run out of ruggalach, blintzes, etc.

  2. spencercourt, on Tuesday before all this happened, I had this craving for oysters and went to Barnacle Bill’s for lunch (one of the only two or three approved sites for raw oysters in these parts). Only to find that they have changed their hours of operation and no longer serve lunch. They don’t open until 3:00 P.M. now. It was a complete bummer.
    I had read in the newspaper (I know, I know, you don’t read it any more) that they’ve been struggling financially since the oil spill. I guess this is their response. There is a sort of perfect storm here, a cascade of bad events. Mostly, a perception on the part of the public that Gulf seafood is dangerous, combined with the fact that there really are fewer shrimpers/oystermen/ fishermen, because they were hit hard–so one led to the other, which then doubled back on itself and made things worse. I suspect that Barnacle Bill’s may have lost at least some of its trusted suppliers. So now by reducing their hours of operation, they are joining in the cascade. But when you’re in business, what are you gonna do? They had to make what I suspect was a hard choice. I hope it works–although I don’t have much faith that it will–because I would really hate to see them go out of business altogether. They’ve been around for what, 40 years?

  3. My favorite, so to speak, of bad business decisions is K-Mart. When they were on the verge of bankruptcy, they slashed payroll, which is the “easiest” fix. Then it got worse. If it was bad before, now you would have to wait even longer in line, and forget finding someone to help you in the store. So fewer and fewer people started shopping there and they doomed themselves. If I were in charge of the world, I would say, whatever you do, don’t cut payroll. When you get in trouble, what you need is more people, not fewer. Wider aisles, new shelves, and spiffy new signs on the outside of the building will not save you. But that’s how these people think.
    The last time I went into a K-Mart was, I think, was about 13 years ago, and I vividly remember the experience. Since then, you would have to kidnap me and drug me to get me inside one.

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