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December 10, 2009

Oysters. ARE YOU HAPPY??!?!?!?


You guys.... we hit the $2,500 mark (and it happened pretty damn quickly after that cilantro video went up, you sadists), so, as promised, below is a video of me downing a half-dozen oysters.  You'll notice I'm squicking and squirming and doing that annoying fanning-of-the-face thing at certain points.  Let me be clear: the oysters were not bad.  In fact, and quite surprisingly, what I allowed myself to taste was actually really good (a little mignonette certainly helps).  It's a texture thing, far and away, and I wish I could love these guys, I really do.  But alas, I'm not sure it's meant to be.  And it's a good thing we got a decent video in just one take, because what if something had happened and I had to do this all over again?  Straightjacket City is what.

No more stalling.  Here's me.  Eating oysters.  Really quickly and sloppily.  And trying not to cry.

Thanks to Bob for filming.  Thanks to Chris and Brandon for snerking in the background. And thanks to the fabulous folks at Central Michel Richard for not just letting me shoot this video in their restaurant, but also donating two $50 gift certificates to two lucky winners-to-be.

So, where are we now?  Well, I heard from the folks at Share Our Strength yesterday afternoon.  Seems we're just shy of $5,000, and you know what the $5,000 mark buys you?  Me eating tripe soup.  I may need to be drunk to do this, and boy wouldn't THAT be a fun video?

Let's do a quick recap of where we are and what's coming up:

  • When we reach $1,000 in donations, I'll eat a handful of cilantro.
  • At the $2,500 mark, I'll eat 6 raw oysters. [we're really close, and I'm really afraid]
  • At the $5,000 milestone, I'll eat tripe soup. [click here for how awful this is gonna be]
  • At the $6,500 milestone, I'll eat some celery.  WITH NOTHING ELSE ON IT.
  • Raise $8,000 (meeting last year's donations) and I'll tap dance in front of the White House.  Yes, I own tap shoes, and no, I haven't used them since 1986.
  • Think we can get to $10,000?  If so, I'll eat a softshell crab with a side of durian.
  • At $12,500, I'll videotape myself singing some really awful song at karaoke -- New Kids on the Block, Milli Vanilli, Celine Dion, Tone Loc...
  • Reach $15,000, and I'll go work the line in a restaurant.
  • If we go above $30,000, I'll sweeten the giveaway pot and take one lucky donor to Alinea for dinner sometime in 2010.
  • And, if we reach $100,000 in donations to Share Our Strength, I'll not just change my name to Alinea Blymire, I'll take it one step further: I'll legally change my name to the different sized circles on the Alinea menu.  Don't believe I'll do it?  TRY ME.  Prince ain't got nothin' on me.

Again, we're just shy of $5,000, so if you wanna see me eat tripe, make it happen.  Head on over to Share Our Strength and help them do their great work. 

Oh, and hey: If your employer does matching donations and you need forms signed or things authenticated, email me, and I'll put you in touch with the person at SOS who can help.

One more thing: we've got a new prize to add to the list -- a two-night stay and a fine, fine dinner for two at the Sheppard Mansion.  My good friend, Andy Little, is the chef at the restaurant, and he's been touted in the food press as a hot, young chef to watch (and I agree; he's a damn fine cook who sources well and has great relationships with his farmers and producers in the area).  The inn is beautiful (and its owner and staff are so gracious and funny), and I may be biased, but south central PA is a gorgeous part of the country.  So, if you donate $100+, you'll be entered into a drawing to win this prize (valued at $500).  Thank you, Kathy, and the whole Sheppard Mansion team for donating this great prize!

Speaking of prizes, Thomas Keller's NYT bestseller Ad Hoc At Home is sold out on Amazon, sold out in bookstores, and is in its second print run with the next batch of books due out in February.  So, if you want to try and win a copy before then, donating to Share Our Strength -- whether it's $5 or $5,000,000 -- will earn you a chance to win a signed first edition copy of the book.

And I can't say it enough, but THANK YOU -- all of you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your donations and for helping this incredible organization do their work in fighting childhood hunger.  You guys are the best!


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I have been craving some oysters lately and think it is a shame that you didn't enjoy the little "sliders". Great work for a good cause, thankfully a bunch of sadistic readers and kind-hearted sponsors are "enabling" your latest project.

You're my hero! My first donation was too small, I'll need to make another one. Not that I want you to eat Durian, but because SOS is such a great cause :)

Not only are you ready for Acme Oyster Bar in NOLA, or Swan's Oyster Depot in San Francisco, you may be ready to take on Adam Richman on Man V. Food.

I bow down to your awesomeness!

Carol, well, that's done. Whew, eh?

I've never tried an oyster, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it. And, call me uninformed, but I don't get the point of oysters. Most people swallow oysters without chewing them, right? But, without chewing, what's the point? I mean, how much oyster flavor can you get if you don't chew? Like I said, call me uninformed. Oh, well.

Great to watch, THUMBS UP TO YOU!!!

I'm starting a charity of my own, it's called Share Our Oysters in which doners take me to their favorite oyster bars across the country paying the bill, my plane ticket and putting me up in their homes for the evening. Sound good. Ok lets get started...

I tend to be a bit stingy when it comes to donating, but that was fifty bucks well spend...

I thought I was bouncing back from my stomach bug, but even the thought of that many oysters has me experiencing a set back.

you are awesome. Now come on folks, with tripe in our sights, we must bring on white house tap dancing!

*snorts* That was awesome. Damn, I just re-read the tripe post---I'd forgotten how awful it was for you.

I can't wait to be reminded with a video of the real thing.

Carol, when you get to the tripe (and you know you will) let me know. I have a recipe that I think you would like. I'm not sure if I would have liked the way you made it last time.

Oh my god I thought you were kidding! Congratulations on your achievement so far, but I'm rooting for the 100K! (and feeling pretty smug about ordering my copy of Ad Hoc at Home a few weeks ago!) BTW - is that title a sly nod to you or what?

Oh man, I just watched - those were big oysters! Six in a row? Not sure I could do that and I love oysters! You should have gone with Kumamotos - they're a lot smaller and very sweet! Oh well, kudos to you for doing it, hope you do learn to love them eventually - at least they're g-free right? ;)

Dear Carol, I have to say that soft shell crab with a side of durian is really really really good:-), although I freeze the fruit with a bit of sugar and deep-fry the crab. Would it sound more impressive when I say I'm Russian:-)...
PS I also love oysters and my favorite tripe soup is menudo:-D
PPS I hear you on celery

Tripe gets such a bad rap! If fresh, you might like it! I have a soft spot for the dim sum style tripe. Really. This is coming from a white girl growing up in farmland where the only part of the pig and cow we ate was chop and burger. You're doing a great job with the blog. A sparkle in my day.

Carol you are the best!! Thanks for making me laugh at work, I really feel like you are keeping me company sometimes. I hope you continue to blog after you complete Alinea at Home. I found you on Michael Ruhlman's blog and when I realized you did The French Laundry, I went back and read that, and now I am all caught up!

I also want to thank you for all your info on where to buy stuff here in the DC area. Hey I would like to offer you a chance to see the Flyers in March if you make your S.O.S goal!

- A huge fan,
Sara in Alexandria

Carol, you have tapped into my sadistic side of watching you eat tripe. I remember all too well being made to eat tripe soup for dinner as a kid. I try to be as generous as I can, especially with causes as important to me as ending childhood hunger. I donate every year to SOS, but this year you have convinced me to donate the most ever, $250. BTY I am SO crossing my fingers for karaoke night. Maybe some New Kids on the Block music complete with boy band dance moves while wearing MC Hammer pants? You totally rock!

OMG you're such a drama queen!!!!!!

But seriously, glad to help contribute to the SOS cause, and watching you eat those oysters was definitely icing on the cake. For a sec I was afraid that you were going to gag on #5.

The other thing, there wasn't all that much chewing going on. If we get to tripe, that better not be the case. None of this bite a chunk and swallow business. WE WANT TO SEE YOU EAT LIKE A PROPER LADY, 16 CHEWS PER BITE PLEASE!


Wow Carol, way to take one for the team! (Or rather, the children.)

By the way, how much time do we have to donate for what you're doing? I'd love to but am super strapped on cash this month, so I'm wondering how long it's going on.

mmmm, looks like a tasty punishment :)

I am SO torn between wanting SOS to get a nice haul this year and not wanting you to have to eat hideous tripe. Tom Seitsema reviewed Bibiana Osteria-Enoteco in the WaPo magazine last weekend and says the tripe there is braised in a clay pot with pancetta (or maybe proscuitto), parm and other stuff that could help cover the taste.

Aw, your expression is so sweet-pouty that all I want to do is come rescue you from those terrible, mean oysters! Okay, also because I love oysters. But anyway, big props to you for rising to the challenge. And, wow, you didn't even do Kumamotos? I adore oysters, but it took me two solid years of nothing but the littlest Kumamotos before I could talk myself into anything else. NICE.

if it ever comes to it, i can share a great tripe soup recipe with you. my dad makes it a few times a year and it's freaking delicious. in fact, i'll try to get it from him and i'll email it to you.
thanks for the blog and all your work!

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