A new year, a new start, and new chances to take in life

This blog started as a way to share my experiences exploring the wonderful cuisines of NYC. But shortly after starting it I learned that I would be moving back to the Boston area. I soon remembered that being in the area of a city and living in the city were very different things, especially when you are working three jobs.

But I had kind of fell in love with the name of this blog. It began to mean more to me than just exploring the world of food. It came to mean taking chances in life. I completely switched career paths and went from geophysics and science management to the wonderful world of beer. And then I found the Cicerone program. For those of you not familiar with this program, in it’s simplest terms, think of it as a beer sommelier. It’s become my second career goal to become a Certified Cicerone and I’ve already passed the first test in the program.

So I’m rethinking this blog as narrative of my path toward Certified Cicerone. It definitely is the leap of faith that I originally associated with Eating the First Oyster, but it’s also a long, hard road of studying, and of course, drinking beer. I’m hoping to take the Certified exam in October, a mere 10 months away!

Along the way I’ve already made friends with the folks at two local breweries who have been extremely supportive in my quest for beer knowledge – Castle Island Brewing and Trillium Brewing. I’m sure they will both feature prominently in my road to the Cicerone.

Castle Island and Trillium:

 

 

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NY Oyster Crawl

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He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.

Jonathan Swift

Have you ever wondered how we figured out that certain items were edible? It’s something that has intrigued me for a while. Some of my favorite clips on Alton Brown’s Good Eats show were those that featured a food anthropologist. This weekend’s NY Oyster Crawl, put together by Julie Qui at the In a Halfshell blog, gave me the push I needed to get going.

The shot above was taken at our first stop, the Grey Lady restaurant on Delancy St in NYC. The oysters on the left are Moon Shoal From Barnstable, MA and the ones on the right Fisher’s Island from Block Island Sound, NY. Both were great, but my favorite were there Moon Shoal. They had a creamy taste in contrast to the brinier Fisher Islands. This was my first time trying each of these varieties. A little post-crawl research unearthed the fact that the Moon Shoal oysters started out as Island Creeks – a variety I’ve enjoyed on a number of occasions.

So what about that person who ate the first oyster?¬†Eating oysters dates back at least 164,000 years. Scientists discovered a cave in South Africa at Pinnacle Point that contain evidence of blades and shellfish collections. Pinnacle Point’s height above sea level is responsible for preserving the site. Other similar spots would have been washed away in one of the many rises of sea level throughout history. Here’s an NPR interview with anthropologist Curtis Marean and archaeologist Sally McBearty that provides more detail on the find.

So while we may not know who first ate an oyster, we know that humans have been enjoying them for quite a long time.¬†There’s so much more to get into about oysters, but I’ll save that for a later post. It will give me an excuse to do a bit more tasting, not that I need an excuse for that.