Oysters on the menu – three ways to love them as a seafood choice

_________________________  early winter 2013

Oysters are a trés romantique selection on the seafood menu. They present a sense of elegance, and are said to be an aphrodisiac. The most enlightening news is, oysters are healthy for us and for the environment. The latter observations are supported by the esteemed Monterey Bay Aquarium ‘Seafood Watch’ program and by pure nutritional facts. I will elaborate on the environmental romance via choosing oysters. Then I will touch upon other romantic aspects of choosing oysters.

Three ways to love oysters as a seafood choice:

1. Love the environment. Oysters make a respectful choice. In the murky waters of restaurant seafood menu options, there are good choices and bad choices per their effect on the environment. Too many restaurants globally, present bad choices on their menus. They emphasize the luxuriousness of such seafood items — and actively, irresponsibly disregard the disastrous effects that their offering these items have on the environment.

harvested oysters - photo courtesy of Safe Harbor Certified Seafood

harvested oysters – photo courtesy of Safe Harbor Certified Seafood

For example, a bad choice menu item: Bluefin Tuna. It’s over-fished, to the threat of endangering this beautiful species. Yet restauranteurs across the globe bring bluefin tuna to their tables. The restauranteurs that do are firsthand consumers who fuel the demand; and they leave their patrons oblivious to the damage this menu item, and the patrons’ selection of it, inflicts on the environment.
     The Monterey Bay Aquarium ‘Seafood Watch’ monitors seafood menu items and divides them into Best Choice,  Good Alternative and Avoid categories. Bluefin tuna falls on the Avoid list. Oysters make the Best Choice list.
     Oysters — Best Choice item: Oysters, among the most traditional and elegant seafood, have a positive effect on the environment. They are filter feeders. Wherever they inhabit, they purify surrounding waters. They remove plankton and other organic particles like algae, says Dr. Tom  Pickerell, Senior Science Manager at Seafood Watch. One oyster may cleanse up to 50 gallons water per day.

2. Welcome the healthiness. Oysters are rich in nutrients. They make the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Super Green List. This list honors Best Choice options that are also hearty sources of Omega-3.
     Conversely, by the by, bluefin tuna are on the Seafood Watch list Health Alert per containing high levels of mercury. Oysters maintain their healthy qualities generally whether raw or cooked. Likely in part because they need not be cooked for long, therefore the nutrients aren’t heated out of them. While oysters make the Watch overall criteria for positive health, they also meet health benefits off the Watch radar.

3. Savor the romance. Oysters in stew or bisque offer an exquisite comfort. Yet raw oysters are most prized for their romantic qualities. They present a sensuality that may be savored personally or with a darling.
Elegance: Raw oysters are presented on the half shell, revealing the shell pearly interior, and oft served with tiny forks dedicated to separate oysters from the shells.
Sensuality: Oysters have a soft, pliant texture. The etiquette to consuming them includes slurping, which is sensual to the etiquette and may also be subtly reminiscent and/or anticipatory.
Aphrodisiac:  The above mentioned qualities contribute to raw oysters being an aphrodisiac. Yet to get downright scientific, Oysters are a hearty source of zinc, which is ver-ly important to men’s health. “Men’s Health” magazine refers to zinc as the “ultimate sex mineral.” A hearty zinc intake may boost men’s fertility and sex drive. Oysters offer a hearty zinc dose.
      To get downright lorical, Casanova is said to have consumed 50 oysters per day to keep his libido in top form.
      A healthy man may be all the more healthy in appreciating his woman, which in itself, is an aphrodisiac to her.

More information:
Seafood Watch makes it easy to have updatesd “Best” and “Avoid” seafood options at your fingertips. Access links to a printable wallet card or mobile phone app by visiting visiting here.
— Chicago Shedd Aquarium offers a “Recommended Restaurants guide” to find establishments that offer sustainable seafood choices. Access it here.

*Chicagoans and visitors, love oysters on the half shell for a “First Date”:“Oysters after work ….”

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