The Oyster Experience

Raw oysters: do you love them or hate them? Have you even tried them?

Until recently, I had never tried them. It wasn’t that I lacked the opportunity, it was that imagining the texture of those slimy mollusks made me cringe. Many of my friends love a good raw oyster and tout how enjoyable and refreshing they are – I just didn’t get it.

Then, I had the oyster opportunity of a lifetime.

I was at a fancy schmancy dinner party! The evening was a grand celebration and the chef for the evening was none other than “Chef T”, who is well-known for making two successful appearances on the Food Network show, Hell’s Kitchen. 

As Chef T was mingling with guests and telling us about all the food she had curated and prepared I told her how I had never tried a raw oyster. Her jaw dropped, her eyes got big, and I could see “challenge accepted” in her facial expression.

Challenge Accepted!

Before I knew it, Chef T had gathered a small group of us and brought us to the oyster station. She told us exactly where the oysters had been harvested from, at what time (9:00 am that day), and the specific type they were. We learned about their flavor profile and all that makes them delectable. She then told us she was going to take it to the next level. She wanted us to try the oyster with a “caviar bump.” 

A caviar bump? This is just getting more intense, isn’t it!? 

We put the caviar on our wrist, and had a “cheers” moment with the oyster. Then, we ate the caviar, swirling it first in our mouth to experience the briny flavor. Then, once we finished the caviar, we enjoyed the oyster, which had been topped with a crisp cucumber relish. 

Wow. What an experience!

Did I enjoy the oyster? Yes, I did. 

Will I crave raw oysters with a side of caviar in the future? No, likely not.

What did the raw oyster teach me?

Looking back I’m a bit surprised I jumped in head first to give a raw oyster a try. But, here’s the thing about me – I want to grab onto life with both hands. 

I can’t get enough of the flavors, textures, and sights that God has surrounded me with. This world is just too colorful for me to pass on opportunities for wonder and sensory explosion. He truly is creative and has given us a fascinating world full of opportunity. There are infinite possibilities for what I can experience with my senses and I’m on a quest to explore as many of those possibilities as I can!

Even though I didn’t identify a new favorite food in that culinary explosion I was able to experience something new that challenged my previous experiences and even some assumptions I had made. And that is what I love.

I want life to be an adventure. My first raw oyster experience was most certainly that – a culinary adventure.

Part of me was afraid I was going to absolutely hate it and offend a well-known chef. Another small part of me was afraid I was going to look childish if I couldn’t stomach the texture and had to politely find a napkin. None of those things came to be. I’m thankful I didn’t let those hesitations rob me of a truly unique opportunity.

When will I ever be in that place, at that time, with those people again? Never.

Will you say yes to “oyster experiences?”

What about you? If you are presented with an “oyster experience” are you going to have the courage to say yes? When we push through our comfort zone and assumptions we experience awe and wonder. 

Maybe it means packing your passport, getting on that plane, and going to see a far off place.

It could mean signing up to volunteer for an organization you admire but have been too insecure to reach out to.

Or maybe yours is also the need to try a new flavor – seek out a new restaurant or cuisine style that you’ve been avoiding.

I hope that the tale of my unique culinary experience will help you consider the way in which you do – or don’t – allow space for adventure in your days. I especially hope that when given the chance, you will embrace your own “oyster experience.”

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