Here’s an odd thing about me: I like watching cooking shows even though they’re so rarely vegetarian friendly. Top Chef, America’s Test Kitchen, Good Eats, good times! I don’t tend to read a lot of food writing (though I do enjoy me some Julia Child), but I did recently read Consider the Oyster by MFK Fisher, and I heartily recommend it. It was published in 1941, and while I confess to knowing little about the history of food writing, it seems ahead of its time. Her writing is remarkably fresh and contemporary to me, or maybe I’m stuck in a time warp. Both are plausible.
Consider the Oyster is a book of essays about oysters, with a little bit of natural history and a bunch of recipes. Everything is injected with MFK Fisher’s wit and strong opinions. It’s quirky and delightful and you should read it if you haven’t yet (It’ll take you all of an hour.). I think the parts where it feels not so fresh are in the recipes, because I don’t imagine anything that’s not bread but called a “loaf” is a part of the current culinary lexicon. Again, I could be totally wrong about that and Thomas Keller could have meatloaf on his menu as I’m writing this. He does, interestingly, always have the same oyster dish on his menu: Oysters and Pearls.
Now regarding the eating of oysters, last year we were told that vegans should consider eating them in this Slate article. To decide whether this a well thought-out argument or a justification from a guilt-ridden former vegan is an exercise left to the reader. The article is quite compelling to me, but I think I simply like mollusks too much to eat them.