Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Oysters

After my initial report about oysters that are grown entirely in finishing basins, I returned to the seafood shop upstairs at the Kleinmarkthalle last Saturday to purchase a dozen Marennes-Oléron oysters in the category Spéciale de Claire.  They cost EUR 2.00 a piece, as compared to EUR 2.50 a piece for the Pousse en Claire oysters.  Unlike the Pousse en Claire, the Spéciales de Claire are only finished for several weeks in the finishing basins (claires), otherwise growing offshore.  This provided the perfect mix between salt and sweetness that I had been looking for.  I shucked the oysters and placed them on a bed of rock salt in a round serving tray between slices of lemon.  We served them as a light appetizer to our friends, a German couple that also likes seafood and has vacationed in France numerous times.  We drank a bottle of Spanish Chardonnay with the oysters.  What I particularly like about the two Oléron oysters that I have tried is the concavity of the shell, allowing for plump oysters.  The Speciales only required a bite or two before swallowing, and the nice blend of salty liquid and sweet flesh played on the tongue for several seconds.  After surfing a bit today, I learned that the pacific oysters grown in Marennes-Oléron also are referred to as Rock Oysters.  For anyone interested, the old rule of only eating oysters in months that contain an "r" seems to apply to the flat oysters known as Ostrea edulis, of which the Belon oyster is the most famous.  These oysters have a reproductive cycle that makes them less appealing from May to August.  The pacific oysters can be eaten year-round.

"Refined at Marennes Oléron and Nowhere Else"

Cheaper by the Dozen?

An "Oyster Park" near Marennes

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What I've Learned This Week

I'm glad I live in a country of such educated and wise people. They taught me that it is not correct to be happy at the death of a mass murderer. They taught me that my country committed an unspeakable crime in violating the sovereignty of another country to hunt down the mass murderer, and that shooting him was another unspeakable crime, even though the compound in which the mass murderer lived was defended, and shots were fired on the troops who were trying to capture or kill the mass murderer.

From the lowliest journalist to ex-Bundeskanzler Schmidt, everyone here seems to be an expert on international law*. I am so lucky.  Isn't it time for Germany to take the lead and show the world how things should be done, as they obviously know better than the rest of us? Wouldn't the world be a much better place if we followed Germany's lead? All in favor, please raise your hand.  I wonder if my German colleagues would feel differently if, like me, they were only two or three degrees of separation away from at least three different victims of the 9-11 attacks, or if, like me, they had taken the time to visit ground zero in 2002 or talked to people who were in New York during the attacks and who were traumatized by seeing people jumping from the towers to their deaths.  I'm sorry, I just can't help it.  I feel this coming on.  I'm just going to let it out:

There, I feel much better.  No more politics at this blog.  I promise, heh heh.

*Or  maybe they aren't.  Another analysis here. A refreshing contrary view. A legal analysis in English.

 "Jeder, der bezweifelt, dass der Verursacher von Massenmord auf amerikanischem Boden nicht bekommen hat, was er verdiente, der sollte sich das Hirn untersuchen lassen. [And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn't deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.]" -- Barack Obama

"Das ist eine dieser bescheuerten Debatten, die es nur in Deutschland geben kann. Ich will es einmal umgekehrt formulieren: Man darf zumindest nicht traurig darüber sein." -- Daniel Cohn-Bendit