How to Eat Oysters and Not Look Like an Idiot

When I’m eating an oyster, first, I taste with my eyes, Japanese-style. I see the oyster in its shell, and right away, I can tell whether it’s going to be good or not. This is one of my pet peeves: an oyster should be opaque; it shouldn’t be gray. It should be filling up its shell, and what you see so often—from high-end restaurants that should know better to the sketchy generic oyster bars that are just trying to get the cheap stuff—is an oyster that’s totally translucent or one that’s not filling it’s shell. There’s a ton of water in there. If you see either of those things, you know it’s not going be great because it’s got nothing in it. When it’s ivory or opaque, that’s because it’s been feeding really well and it’s full of starches and sugars and proteins. And when it’s in the off-season, it doesn’t have any food which turns it—in a sense—into a bag of water.
— Rowan Jacobsen, Author