There is a long stomach wrenching story that goes along with this video. I'm not sure if I should tell you, but I will anyway.
First, watch the video (4 minutes). It's the first part of two videos (the second on how to beignet oysters coming next week). I filmed it myself so you'll have to excuse the low lighting and the unintentional body shots. I got a little carried away with the Brittney Spears opening too. No regrets, oysters are an aphrodisiac after all... or are they?
I bought a box of 50 oysters on Sunday (my day off) for this video and throughout the evening while I shucked them and dipped them in batter to beignet, I ate about half raw and deep fried.
Monday rolled around and I met some friends that were visiting from San Francisco and the whole day I just felt groggy. I kept thinking it must be fatigue from cooking double shifts each day day. I felt so sleepy that I had to cut our date short.
Tuesday morning I returned to work at 8AM and felt like a tractor had run over me. Looking for a shred of sympathy, I told another cook: "You know I feel really tired, I don't feel so good". He responded: "You don't come to cook at a restaurant like this to be tired."
Well, no shit sherlock.
Right before our afternoon service I could feel my intestines rolling around and I knew something was wrong. Then came the sensation that I was being knifed repeatedly in the lower gut. It came and went throughout the lunch service but I managed to withstand it.
I should say, I managed to withstand it while totally messing up every order on the planet. I heard more than my fair share of, "Ah Amy, c'est quoi ça?" (Ah Amy, what is that?) It's really hard to hear all the long menus coming in when you're doubled over in pain. And you know we do everything verbally. Everything has to be memorized – no point of sale system – so you've got to listen and be sharp. I made it through the dinner service, but just barely.
I came home and slept and returned Thursday morning to work. This time the knifing in my stomach returned accompanied with some terrible side effects. Everything started coming out of me. I mean everything and everywhere. I felt like some one was taking my intestines and tying them in knots.
Now you have to understand that when you cook in a restaurant you don't get sick. It just doesn't happen. If you are truly sick then you better have pnemonia or the plague or something incurable. So I was back and forth to the toliet praying that my body would soon finish evacuating itself before the lunch service began trying not to make to big an issue of it.
Of course no one even asked if I was okay. They just kind of looked at me like maybe I drank too much or something the night before. I know I'm older, a woman, and American but, if some one is really sick don't you think you're going to ask if the obvious: Are you alright?
Thankfully one of the excutive chefs took interest in my well-being and asked if I was okay and offered to get me some medecin. I explained in my best French/American sign language that everything was coming out of me. "Tu as le Gatro" he told me.
I find this name for malady Gastrointestinal really funny because in Paris gastronomical restaurants are nicknamed "Gastros" as opposed to "Bistros". So yes, I had le Gastro while I was working at un Gastro. (no fault but my own though, they were my oysters)
The ever-kind chef, brought me back pills to stop me up and they worked. I managed to pull off another day of two services, lunch and dinner, thanks to the pills and basically slogged my way through Friday. However, I found out later that when you have "gastro" you're not supposed to take these pills while you're body is trying to rid itself of problem. It only prolongs the pain. Which it did. Enough said.
So now I'm okay. And what I've come to conclude is that I think I must be allergic to oysters. I always seem get sick when I eat more than three or four.
But honestly, I do love them. And I love to pop them open and eat them raw straight from the ocean with just a squeeze of lemon. I only wish that my stomach would be more supportive of this habit.