Consider the oyster: a month-long experiment?

Did you see Super Size Me? That terrifying movie where Morgan Spurlock eats only McDonald’s food for a month?

I’m thinking of doing a similar experiment. Except less terrifying. And easier.

What if I ate a half dozen raw oysters every day for a month?

Why oysters? Several reasons:

  • Oysters are associated with loads of health claims, from boosting energy to promoting a health immunity system. They’re high in zinc and B12 but low in calories. Anecdotally, when I eat them, I almost always feel great, physically and mentally. When we were in Key West recently, an oyster bar we loved had a flier that said five oysters a day fulfill the RDA of several nutrients. What possible motive would they have for lying?
  • Plus, oysters are considered an aphrodisiac. 😉
  • If you want to test a theory, you want to eliminate as many variables as possible. Since consuming raw oysters is common, it would be far easier to test their effects on body, mind and spirit than if they were always served, say, covered in cheese and spinach, then baked. It would focus on the oysters themselves, along with tiny amounts of cocktail sauce.
  • I could instead do something like this with sushi, testing the effects of eating raw fish daily. But my favorite sushi is tuna, which is considered bad for the environment, while oysters get the thumbs up from the Environmental Defense Fund. Meanwhile, on a personal health level, because tuna are fatty fish higher on the food chain, they’re often associated with mercury warnings, while oysters, along with anchovies and sardines, don’t gobble up loads of other smaller fish so they don’t collect mercury.
  • I’m mostly vegetarian, though I do make occasional exceptions for fish and seafood. As an ethical vegetarian, someone who doesn’t want animals to suffer, I find it easier to justify consuming a creature without a brain, which probably doesn’t experience fear the same way a pig or cow would.

I’ve been investigating my options in New York for good quality, inexpensive oysters, and it appears there are several places that serve $1 oysters at happy hour: Lure, Lela Bar, Fish, Essex, City Lobster, Shaffers, Aquagrill, Docks. They’re all listed on Yelp’s oyster happy hour conversation thread. John also sent me an e-mail this week announcing Mermaid Inn’s $1 oyster deal.

If we spent $12 a day on oysters (because John would feel left out if I did this alone), that would be about $16 a day after tax and tip. Doing that for 30 days would be $480.

Of course, when John and I got a dozen at the Grand Central Oyster Bar Saturday, the variety that knocked me out were Kumamotos, which our waitress said is their most popular. Those are $3.05 each, and splurging on those California delights for a month would push the experiment to about 48 bucks a day — more than $1,400 for the month.

That’s assuming we never get a glass of wine or pint of beer to go with the oysters. Obviously we need to boost the budget a little because that assumption is terrible.

Whether the high end or low rent approach, I think it would be fantastic to find a sponsor for this experiment. Anyone interested?

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Categories: food and drink

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2 replies

  1. Katherine, we really wanted to go to the Roadfood festival. A celebration of food in one of our favorite cities? And on John’s birthday weekend to boot?
    But it didn’t work out for this year, so sadly, we’ll miss it. Maybe next year.

    Anyone else who’d interested, the festival is March 26-28 and looks like a diner’s paradise. It’s not just great food from NOLA but from all over the country.
    http://www.neworleansroadfoodfestival.com/

  2. I’m with you on Kumomotos — they’re delightful. As for finding a sponsor…boy, wouldn’t it be great if you could get someone to foot the bill for such a project?! ; )
    Somebody like this might actually consider it, who knows?
    http://willapa-oysters.com/
    p.s. Are you all coming to the Roadfood festival? They’re on twitter at @willapaoysters

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