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Shucking Oysters with the Pros

The goal of 49 Before 50 is to have 49 new, first time experiences. I have enjoyed each and every one of them for different reasons. I have met really interesting people with different passions. This adventure was no exception as I visited the oldest restaurant in the United States in Boston to learn how to shuck oysters.

The Union Oyster House is a restaurant rich in history and tradition. It also is home to some amazing oysters and people that prepare and serve them. I told several of my pals in New England that I was headed out to shuck oysters and they warned me, with the same intensity as other friends warned me about skydiving, of the dangers of shucking. Some of them advised me to wear a stainless steel glove to avoid cutting my hand. Others regaled me with stories of them knowing someone that punctured the palm of their hand attempting this. I didn’t realize that there was such an element of danger in learning to shuck oysters.

All my fear and worry was immediately calmed by the warm welcome I received when I arrived at the restaurant. The owners and staff LOVE what they do and are very proud of the long standing, cultural icon that the Union Oyster House is. I was escorted behind the oyster bar and my lesson began.

This was hands down, far more challenging than I anticipated. There is definitely a serious technique applied to shucking each individual oyster, My instructor was patient and kind, however, in the time it took me to actually open one shell, he could have probably gone through about a dozen. I learned that there are competitions for shucking and it is an honor to be known as someone who can handle a lot of oysters at rapid speed. I was very good at putting a little cocktail sauce and fresh lemon on mine, but I will leave the difficult task of shucking to the professionals.