Fresh Raw Oysters

Fresh Raw Oysters


Last weekend, my husband and I took a refreshing trip to Bass Lake and Yosemite National Park.  We rented a lovely cabin that was complete with skylights, a loft, large kitchen and a very comfortable deck.  The owners of the cabin suggested that we stop at a local fish market on the way there to pick up something for dinner.  After ordering a couple fillets of petrale sole, we saw on the board that they had fresh oysters!  As residents of the San Francisco bay area, we love to go out for oysters at many local seafood restaurants, but we had never shucked them ourselves.  Being that we were on vacation we decided to be adventurous.  So we asked for a dozen and the man returned with a bag saying, “I won’t close this because they’re still breathing.”  That was a little unsettling, but it told me that they truly were fresh.


Then we proceeded to the supermarket, a Vons (quite a different world when you’re used to shopping at health food stores), where we attempted to find some cocktail sauce that didn’t have a lot of food additives in it.  I scoured the labels on three different brands, reading things like “modified food starch” (celiacs beware!), FD&C red No. 3, and a host of others I cannot pronounce.  Finally I discovered a local brand whose ingredient list was only half as long and started with tomato puree and horseradish (as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup and water).


After we arrived at the cabin, settled in, and had a soothing cup of tea out on the deck, it was just about cocktail hour.  So I opened the bottle of Viognier that we brought while my husband tackled the oysters.  The man at the seafood market told us to hold them upsidedown with a towel and pop the hinges with a flathead screwdriver, so we got out the tool kit from the car.  The miniature screwdriver wouldn’t do the trick, however, so we found a very sturdy butter knife.  After several cracked shells and a few words I won’t print, we managed to salvage about eight or so presentable half-shells.  The cabin kitchen came stocked with these adorable fish platters, which were a perfect display for our appetizers.  We packed them on ice, sliced up a lemon, and cracked open the cocktail sauce.  Then it was back out to the deck.




The next morning we woke up and enjoyed my buckwheat crepes with fresh wild blackberries that we had picked the afternoon before along the creek behind the cabin.  I packed us a lunch of my tomato-cucumber-cilantro salad, a can of yellowfin tuna packed in olive oil, and two toasted slices of gluten-free quinoa/buckwheat/millet bread from the Grindstone Bakery.  Then we were on our way.


The southern entrance to the park leading into Yosemite Valley is very scenic, but the combination of the hairpin curves, altitude and 90-degree weather gave me a slight case of car-sickness that made the drive difficult to enjoy.  However, once we came through the tunnel leading to the valley, the view was breathtaking.   As the path became smoother my appetite gradually returned.  We parked the car and made our way into the village.


I was glad that I had packed our lunch, because the only place I noticed in Yosemite village where you can grab a bite to eat was a fast food joint.  We found a shady picnic table which had the following sign printed on it:


“Please do not feed the wild animals.  They are not accustomed to human food.  The added salt, fats, and preservatives often found in our food will cause them to gain weight, lose their hair, and become addicted to human food.”


Need I say more?  We spread the tuna on our slices of quinoa/buckwheat/millet toast and tasted the fresh tomato-cucumber-cilantro salad, feeling grateful that we had such a delicious, healthy meal and knowing that it would nourish any being who chose to share it.

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