Monday, April 17, 2006

West Mersea Native Oysters

Back in 1994 I met my partner James's Aunt Alice for the first time, a rendezvous at the oyster bar in Grand Central Station. That was my first bite of oyster - my first experience of slipping down food infused with the taste of sea. I'd always been a finicky eater but James keeps leading me to new ground. A different taste of sea came from lamb fed on the saltmarshes around Mont Saint Michel.
Sometimes when I'm eating I know it's good, but ask James to put the meal into words for me, so I can really experience it. I can't say food has bound full-flavoured into my writing yet, but give it time.
This image comes from the weekend's taste experience - James giving his all to a West Mersea Native Oyster. Largely supplanted by the more disease resistant Pacific ones, this one has an extra rip of flavour. It's seasonal - going with months with R in them - so the trip was an urgent one before April and the harvest season ended. West Mersea is a small island south of Colchester (Britain's oldest recorded town, on the south as East Anglia starts bulging out of England). The oysters are perfectly matched by a bottle of West Mersea vineyard's own white wine.
James is a writer too. I've always reckoned that writing has to be fuelled by experience. Yo!

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