By Margaret Webb
I first tasted Johnny Flynn’s cultivated oysters at the funky Oyster Boy restaurant in Toronto. His were my first experience of eating one raw. My partner, Nancy, who grew up in Nova Scotia, had been urging me to try one for years, seducing me with all manner of cooked oysters, but I resisted this adult rite of passage to a spinsterly age for two reasons. First, it takes but a second to swallow an oyster, but five years to grow one to market size in Canada’s chill East Coast waters. Perhaps more alarming, raw means—at least in the case of oysters—that the creature is very much alive. Yes, the plump rise of flesh, which so resembles that part of the female anatomy, meets its death in your mouth. Or stomach if you do not chew. But you must chew, Oyster Boy owner Adam Colquhoun had told me, not only to release the heady flavours but to ensure the creature is still alive and fresh, and therefore not dead and skanky.