Oysters are synonymous with romance—hailed as an aphrodisiac and allegedly enjoyed 50 at a time by Casanova himself (for breakfast, yet)—but they’re hard for some people to love. What’s not to adore about a salty, slippery, soft-bodied invertebrate surrounded by two calcareous valves joined together by a resilient ligament? Well. “[A]n oyster, like a lover, first captures you by bewitching your mind,” writes Rowan Jacobsen in his 2007 book, “A Geography of Oysters.” So maybe some of our favorite stories about and recipes for oysters will, if not bewitch, at least interest—and inform, and let you experience their charms vicariously.
Is it like the sea? Like a cucumber or a melon? Like copper or smoke? The taste of an oyster depends on a variety of factors, and can be hard to pin down, but it’s delightful to try. Learn about what influences oyster flavors, and how best to describe them.
Get acquainted with these 12 types of oysters and their particular appeal.
If you prefer your oysters cooked, this classically rich preparation is perfect, and historic.
Some of our favorite ways to enjoy oysters (other than straight-up and fresh from the shell, that is):
See what other Chowhounds have had to say (and ask) about oysters over the years.
Don’t Eat Every Oyster
If it looks fishy, throw it out.
Beware of Metal Shucking Gloves
They can be useful, but are probably a bad idea if you’re dealing with cooked oysters.