My hostess ducked downstairs, and returned with M.F.K. Fisher's essay "My First Oyster," (in The Gastronomical Me) set in a girl's school in southern California in the 1920s.
"I remembered hearing Mother say that it was vulgar as well as extremely unpleasant to do anything with an oyster but swallow it as quickly as possible, without thinking, but that the after-taste was rather nice...raw, they must be swallowed whole, and rapidly.
The oysters had been shipped live from the East coast ("I love Blue Points," oozes one of the fashionable young ladies.) Fisher considers this an almost unimaginable luxury, the sort of thing that might be experienced only rarely at the venerable Victor Hugo's restaurant, built on the cliffs in Laguna Beach, where I once had dinner.
Fisher keeps you on the edge of your seat. What will happen to that first oyster? Will it go down...alive? Will it stay down? She is swept onto the dance floor by one of the senior girls. "The oyster was still in my mouth."
We also learned that oysters are hemaphroditic, and fecund, releasing over a million eggs.