Eat oysters only in the "R" months? Not anymore, thanks to refrigeration and oyster farming. Still, for purists, September through December is the season of the slurp.
Name that bivalve: Extensive oyster menus can be daunting. Some general guidelines: Atlantic oysters are most common on U.S. menus; try the Duxbury or the saltier Wellfleet. An oyster novice? Skip Europe's briny Belon. Go with the subtler Pacific Kumamoto.
Get saucy: Traditionally, raw oysters are garnished with mignonette sauce--red-wine vinegar, pepper and shallots. Or try them with Worcestershire, lemon, horseradish and even cocktail sauce.
Cheers! A nice dry bubbly brings out the oyster's brine. Or do like the French: order a glass of crisp, clean Sancerre.
Order away: Living inland? Buy oysters online. Raw-bar guru Gordon Hamersley, of Boston's Hamersley's Bistro, prefers www.captainmardens.com, or try farm-2-market.com. Just get cracking.