‘I can’t!’

‘Why can’t you?’

‘Because…’

‘Because what? How can you be in France, sitting at La Coupole and not taste our own huiters de Normandie? They are probably harvested this very morning, you know? Normandy yields some of the world’s best oysters.  Hell, we have the best oysters in the world.’ I see Rémy’s face beaming. True French pride. ‘And after a long summer, the oyster season has just began and this year they are particularly incredibly good!’

‘May be so, but I don’t know, just look at them!’

Someone who grew up being a vegetarian in whose family even eggs were considered meat, I have come a long way. Up until I was twenty five, I have never had eaten any meat dishes. During my two and half years in London, I may have ventured in to taste chicken curry a few times and may have managed to swallow a few pieces of meat placed in front of me, just not to offend those kind hearted host families in England and in Holland – where I interned during my summer and winter breaks. But it wasn’t until after I graduated and landed a job with Burda in Offenburg while living with a German family did I begin to eat meat in earnest. Even so, I had hardest time eating any seafood. The most I had managed over the interim four years in the States, was to acquire taste for fried shrimps and broiled lobster tails. Couldn’t deal with any of the fish at all. I did try escargot once. Baked inside their little shells and swimming in the garlic butter.  I was able to swallow half a dozen yucky looking black curled up creatures, only because I nudged them down with the garlic butter soaked piece of bread and with my eyes closed, and a glass of wine at ready. But oysters?

‘I’m looking at them. But they are meant to be eaten, unless you’re looking for pearls,’

‘Pearls?’

‘Yeah. Didn’t you know that the most beautiful pearls are found inside certain types of oysters?’

‘Are you serious?’

‘Of course. But never mind. Just try one. I promise you would like it.’

‘But Rémy!’

‘These are so delicious! And they taste and feel just like, you know?’ Rémy has this knowing look on his face as if I knew what he’s talking about. Realizing that maybe I really didn’t know what he was leading to, he elaborates.

‘Just like, you know? Woman’s sex. How do you call it?’

‘You mean pussy?’

‘Oui alors, exactement!’ 

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