Un-cooked, no sauce, nothing but fresh, pure oyster taken straight from its shell. In there is the texture of slippery rocks awash in sea water and the licking of kelp in the pulse of the tides. In there is a taste all over the mouth, not just on the tongue; clean, wholesome purity.
We spend hours in kitchens and restaurants conjuring complex flavours that don't come close. But like so many of the most worthwhile sensations, this one is bitter-sweet when we consider how unbelievably plentiful they used to be when clean water was abundant and people were few.
I can't eat an oyster without thinking about a book called 'A Secret River' by Kate Grenville, which wraps a wonderful story of a clash of cultures around the settlement of the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales. For thousands of years the oysters were plentiful, and simply there to be had by anyone who was hungry. Within decades the English settlement was struggling to feed itself. Details of the book can be found here.