Oysters: The Other White Meat


Oysters are the culinary pearls of the sea,
A prized ocean delicacy for you and me
Dining on raw oysters? Check your fork…
Think twice my friend — you’re eating sea pork!

Photo compliments of Jon Aslund on Flickr

I made that up. What would make me say something like that? Well, while reading about them I couldn’t help but remember the stories I’ve heard about people getting sick from eating raw oysters. I usually hear people say they got sick because they ate too many of them. Well, apparently it may be more than that.

Let’s see… they are found in brackish water (water that is salty but not as salty as the open ocean). Now, I can’t help but see that description as a definition of our own coastal waters — where the fresh-water streams meet the ocean. The oysters feed off of what they filter through their gills. Anything floating in the water might end up stuck in their flesh. Hmmm… warning signs for streams talk about how the water may be contaminated. Need I say more?

To be fair, the dangers of raw oyster consumption are primarily aimed more at the Gulf oysters because there are a lot of laws and restrictions about harvesting the oysters from that region. But, I’m paranoid about the handling of food products as it is and I say it couldn’t hurt to be safe about it around here too. This site goes to great lengths to share information about the the health issues raw oysters may cause.

If you love oysters and you’re feeling offended, relax, nobody’s trying to ruin your favorite food. These guys are obviously serious about protecting people from eating this stuff raw. To make oyster lovers happy, they have even provided some mouth-watering recipes. Those recipes sound so good I was actually trying to figure out which ingredients I already have and which ones I’m missing.

Cook them! That’s the message. Remember, you’re eating sea swine. Come on, someone has got to have come up with that analogy already! 🙂

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