On Foodie Tuesday Ande Bliss wrote an essay on the joys of lobster. Lobster bisque, lobster rolls and, of course, boiled lobster.
I must confess that not one bite of lobster has ever passed my lips, nor shall it. I was scarred at a young age and shall never recover. Here follows my Tales Of Lobster (cue organ music and lightning).
I grew up in the center of a state that is in the center of the country. "Fresh fish" include catfish and trout. "Seafood" is tunafish, from a can, mixed with relish and Miracle Whip. Sorry Charlie.
Our house was small with five rooms. My aunts went to college in town and we were pretty close as they were only 11 and 12 years older than me. One evening my Aunt Deb was to bring her current beau to our house for dinner and she stated that she would bring the main course. In classic Deb fashion, she and the beau were approximately an hour late, hadn't stated what the "main course" was, and didn't own a pot, pan or dish in which to cook it. So, an hour late they arrive with "dinner". Two live lobsters.
I'm sure you're thinking, "Wow. Impressive." Eight year old Sam was thinking, "Gigantic, miracle-gro fed crawdads struggling to get away so they can eat me!"
You say, ""No! Fresh seafood. Thoughtful." Sam says, "Landlocked state in city two hours from the nearest airport. Do we need to go over the definition of "fresh"?"
You thoughts include, "Excellent chance to challenge young Sam's developing taste buds." Sam says, "They are screaming when you put them in the boiling water! Look!! They are trying to escape!" Then she runs crying from the kitchen.
Tears and chicken noodle soup at the piano bench in the living room were my fine dining experience that night. But since the house was so small there was no way to get away from the screaming food in the kitchen.
As I got a little older, lobster continued to gain in popularity along with 8-track tapes and feathered bangs. The 'premier' grocery store in town, Nowell's (with two locations to serve you), had a lobster tank. Those poor bastards probably thought they were in a living hell and would welcome death by boiling water. Plucked from their sea home, thrown in a crate and flown to the Midwest, then driven two hours to be tossed into a 1-1/2 x 3 foot glass box. You could smell them from two aisles away. If you had wanted to pick a lobster, the water and tank were so filthy, you could barely see them lethargically swimming in the murk. Mmm, lobster. Yummy.
My final lobster tale involves actual lobster tails. The date: Prom Night 1983. The place: Bobby Buford's Restaurant. The crime: Cluelessness at fine-ish dining. The scene: Eight teenagers vs. One long-suffering waiter who must have totally pissed off the restaurant hostess earlier in the day. We sit, we finally order: Steak, Steak, Steak, Steak, Lobster Tails, Steak, Steak, Nothing, thank you. I am sitting by Lobster Tails, of course.
We dilly, we dally, we drive the poor waiter nuts and then the bill arrives. Lobster Tails wants to split the bill evenly four ways. Even though I am not paying, I turn and look at him and announce, "Why should C (my date will remain nameless to protect the mortally embarrassed) pay for your lobster tails? Or D, when his date didn't even eat anything? Especially since your stupid lobster cost twice as much as everyone else's dinner." As B and I sat arguing, C looked like he wanted to sink into the floor and the waiter appeared to want to strangle all eight of us and then enjoy an uninterrupted evening with a bottle of Jack.
A week later I read in Ann Landers that when something like this happens you pay and then fix it later. Thanks, Ann! Would it have killed you to publish that little bit of information two weeks earlier? (Sorry again, C.)
There you go lobster. Three strikes and you're out.