Thankfully, judgments made on the brink of adolescence are seldom indubitable and last year, as part of a gradual process of abandoning vegetarianism, I patched up with the oyster. I ate my way through crowded oyster happy hours across Manhattan, starting with the usual—mild Hama Hamas with a touch of horseradish, briny Wellfleets with a squeeze of lemon and meaty Blue Points with a hint of cocktail sauce. How wrong I had been about oysters! They weren't slimy or suspect, they were soft and surprising, every oyster differing from the next—some brash with seawater, others delicate with mild sweetness, soft, chewy, sometimes earthy. While hunting for the different flavors of this delectable mollusk, I came across a heartening story of oyster resurrection in Virginia. Once a region that satisfied many oyster cravings among European royalty as well as affluent Americans of the late 19th century, the state saw decades of declining oyster populations due to overharvesting, disease and pollution. By the mid-1900s, Virginia oysters had entirely disappeared from our menus and tables.