The Lowly Lobster: Laid Bare

October 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm 1 comment

I just returned from a trip to Maine where, one suspects, if lobsters did not lurk offshore the state would lack a single restaurant.  Indeed, from what I saw, lobsters are to New England what the sacred cow is to Texas and the elephant to Hindus.  (Key difference:  unlike here in the States, Hindus do not dine on what they adore.)

It’s true that animals have always held mystical qualities for many of the world’s religions.  But in Maine, the only mystery is how any lobster can avoid being netted and either thrust naked before hoards of hungry diners from across the land, or put into all kinds of everyday menu items. 

Mainers seemingly lay into lobster like it’s some kind of Holy Communion.  I’m talking about lobster omelets, lobster rolls (their answer to the tuna sandwich), lobster salad, lobster bisque, lobster tacos, lobster mac and cheese and—if you can believe it—lobster martinis!

Now I’m no lobster apologist.  I love the occasional clawed creature dipped in butter.  Yet, while I would never tinker with the food chain, I do consider one custom quite beyond the pale:  putting live lobsters on display, to be picked out before being whisked into the gastronomic great beyond.  This just seems so incredibly cruel.  Do we herd cows to dining tables before slaughtering them in the back room?  Of course we don’t.

You should know that my mother, Peg Bracken, was far less fond of lobster than I, preferring clams, shrimp and crab.  (You’ll find these dishes throughout the I Hate to Cook Book.)   And, if you think about it, fresh lobster is not really part of the IHTCB ethos, which is easy meal preparation using common economical ingredients. 

Nevertheless, Bisque Quick (p. 31) calls for a can of crab meat, shrimp or lobster.  And I suppose if you were adventurous you could substitute lobster in Little Crabmeat Casseroles (p. 101) along with many other IHTCB recipes.  That or hop the next plane to Maine.


Entry filed under: I Hate to Cook Book. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jim Goodrich  |  October 10, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Priceless, Jo. Thanks for sharing that gem.


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