How do we love thee, oysters? Let us count the ways. Rare is the food that's as good in a creamy chowder or grilled with spicy butter as it is slurped, messily and unadorned, just as it came (never mind the fact that most things taste good when cooked with copious amounts of dairy).
Compared with its cousins -- mussels, scallops, clams -- the oyster is less prim, with its craggy shell and sloshing brine. But once you've triumphed in prying that thing open, first impressions fade and, next thing you know, you're throwing back dozens in one sitting. And when Valentine's Day rolls around, oysters are second only to chocolate -- ofwhichwe'vegivenyouplentythisweek -- when it comes to foods said to set the mood. Dubious science aside, we'll happily take any opportunity to eat them. Here are five, for this weekend and for always.