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I ate my first whole oyster last Saturday. It was not raw,and I didn’t feel any aphrodisiac induced changes. It was chewy. I had to ignore the parts I didn’t want to identify (which would be all of it), but it tasted okay. My daughter was not as impressed. She drank lots of water afterwards.

I also had some squid; small ones in the Grilled Calamari Salad in the appetizer buffet. But that wasn’t my first time. For my dad’s 60th birthday he requested dinner out at a Greek restaurant. My dad ordered fried calamari for one of the appetizers. They lay in their basket, brown batter-coated balls with spindly legs. I didn’t want him to feel bad, so I ate one. Just chewed enough to get it down and didn’t think too much about how they are cousins of the octopus that has eyes most similar to humans. And does the brain constitute the majority of its anatomy? Chew and swallow. Two other people had one and then the basket sat. So I had another. At that point, it didn’t seem to matter.

The best part of the Greek restaurant experience was the after dinner dancing where we formed a circle and joined in with the waiters and the belly dancer. The belly dancer had been part of the dinner entertainment—but that’s another story.

I’ve also had sardines. The kind with the heads still on. They lay on their sides in the can and stared at us with one eye. It was New Year’s Eve at my grandparents and that was one of the things grandma put out on the small table for us to munch on. We could stay up as long as we wanted, but they went to bed. We had crackers and cheese and oranges and nuts and stared back at the sardines. Finally, in unison we agreed to try one. Or some of us did. I picked one up by the tail, shut my eyes and popped it in. Chewed briefly and swallowed.

My culinary experiences are actually very limited. Aside from some interesting dishes in Japan and the Philippines, and an occasional brush with sushi, my meals are rather basic, if not always meat and potatoes. But not because my dad didn’t try.

When we were young, every once in awhile he’d concoct an adventure for us. One time he decided to make us oyster stew. They used canned oysters (undrained) and cooked them in milk with Blue Bonnet and salt and pepper. The results received the same resounding rating around the table. Thumbs down.

Dad told us to eat it and stop complaining. Now I’ve never been a milk lover or even liker. When we had bread and milk Sunday suppers, I had bread. So I made a bargain with my sister. If she drank my fishy, lukewarm, oily milk, I’d eat her oysters. They were green, slimy and well, I chewed briefly and swallowed.

I don’t know why I forgot about the oyster stew on Saturday night when my daughter handed me an oyster. I guess I’m gullible.

So what have you eaten that you don’t care to repeat?