Lobster Proper

by Rachel Gertz

Lobster Delicatessen

Day 206

I know you’ve eaten lobster tail. Everyone earns a right of passage by munching on the rubbery tail of this archaic animal at some point or another. But how many of you braves have voraciously attacked the fresh Pinchie in his claw and head and antennae glory? Oh, and how many of you have picked at the parts of this noble creature while in New Brunswick —specifically Chocolate River Motel, NB?

Thought so. 

We tried the hard-shelled lobster meal deal for the first time after sneaking a peak at the Bay of Fundy. I could go on about the rising tides of muddy water at the Bay, or I could tell you about how I am having nightmares about lobster juice flinging into my eye and growing lobster monsters out of my tear ducts. You want to hear about the nightmares, don’t you. Too bad, I’m just going to tell you how to eat the damn weird things.

One thing you should know about eating lobsters, which they don’t tell you in school:  There is a right way to eat a lobster.

We did it the wrong way. Juice everywhere, shell embedded into our noses. What a mess. I’m telling you this, so it doesn’t happen to your sweet self. Be cautious.

Before we dissect the thing, let’s introduce it. 

Mighty Lobster Facts

  • Lobsters were once considered bottom feeding creatures, not fit to be eaten by humans
  • The smaller the lobster, likely the more tasty it is (around a pound is a great catch) 
  • Lobsters can be left or right handed. That is, their large crushing claw will show up on either the right or left side
  • Lobsters molt their shells just like insects. The back of their shell cracks and they climb out of them. This process leaves them rubbery and exhausted for several hours
  • Lobster ‘blood’ is a clear fluid that turns white when boiled. Lobsters do not have a brain, nor heart, nor true liver. Basically they’re just an empty shell with fluids moving around inside. 
  • Unlike crabs, lobsters must be cooked live, or their meat is likely to spoil right away (no idea why)
  • Know why Pinchie has elastic bands around this claws? It’s not just because he’ll grab your junk between his pinchers the first chance he gets. Although docile creatures, the lobster can become cannibalistic when forced to exist in an overcrowded tank. Time to make a lobster fighting bet. 

If you’re in love with lobsters like I am, read some more facts courtesy of Lobster Man.

How to cook a lobster…

We got ours fresh of the boat, but if you don’t have the luxury of being served fresh Homarus americanus, this is how to make it taste just as good. 

Step 1. Choose your lobster. 

Do not get too attached while this little guy clamours over the heads of his brethren in the tank at Superstore. Choose well. Bright green, hard shelled lobsters are tasty. If you’re lucky, the females might have eggs on them that you can slurp on. Mmmmm lobster eggs.

Step 2. Put your lobster in the freezer to numb its pain. 

Alright, I really have to settle this debate. Lobster consuming scientists have scrabbled to publish research regarding whether or not animals like lobsters, crabs, worms, and molluscs feel pain. Some say this freezer trick slows them down and numbs them out. Pull it out after ten or fifteen minutes, still alive, but slow as molasses. Do not test it with mathematical questions. 

Oh, so I settled it. After reading the above article: Lobsters do not feel. Throw those effers in the pot. Gently, so just in case I’m wrong, they won’t come back to bite me in the ass later.

Step 3. Boil it (till it turns red).

I’ve never dropped a lobster in a pot of boiling water myself, but friends have told me they scream as their asses hit the spit. Scientists say it’s just a matter of air escaping through their carapaces. They say lobsters, like all invertebrates, lack the nerve development to feel pain. “No brain, no pain,” they insist. Still, I’m imagining scooping up wily little Pinchie and tossing him in the big old cauldron trying not catching his knowing eye. Their tails thrash when you drop them in, by the way. Apparently it’s just a reflex. Just sayin’.

In case you’d rather play with Pinchie than eat him— How to Hypnotize a Lobster 

Step 4. Eat.

This is the tricky part. It’s why you get a bib. Now I must say that as Pinchie was being placed in front of me, I felt a pang of guilt. His feelers kept drifting off the plate and onto my arm, tickling me with remorse. Poor Pinchie. But I was steadfast. I pretended he was a crab and dove in. For some reason crabs are easier to kill and eat. I think it’s because they remind me of the Mon Calimari aliens in Star Wars. Kind of socially inept know-it-alls.

More lobster preparing tips!

Anyway, here’s how you get to the good part. 

Eat A Lobster Now

Step 1. Snap off the tail fins. Then break of the tail end from the torso. It’s dead; it doesn’t feel anything. Push out the meat from the tail end. Here you have it. A lobster died for that little sliver of seabottom goodness. Dip it in some hot garlic butter and squirt a little lemon on that sucker. Delicious.

Step 2. See saw the legs and claws till they break off. There’s some succulent meat in there. Just don’t look Pinchie in his glazed eye.

Step 3. Crack the claws with a nutcracker and then bend back the ‘thumb’ until it breaks. You can pull the claw meat out. This is actually my favourite part of the lobster. Besides its sunny disposition.

Step 4. There should be a slice line along the back of the lobster (your chef should have made this), similar to the one Pinchie makes when he molts out of his shell. Crack that back wide open and notice all the weird green goo inside. Yeah, that green stuff? It’s not pate. People just think you should eat because it has the texture of blended liver. In actuality this is the place where all the waste from the lobster’s diet congregates, a ‘liver’ of sorts. Great on crackers. I mean, if you like eating other animals’ waste products, that is.

Step 5. Poke at the head and the other weird bits of its body. Make the lobster body dance a little. Then compost Pinchie. He’ll make your soil rich and fertile so you can grow huge tomatoes when you switch to vegetarianism after reading this post. 

A variation on the above nitty gritty.

And Voila! You have succeeded in eating a bottom feeder. This food is for the riche and affluent only. Don’t let the fishermen fool you into thinking they only make $6 a lobster and then have restaurants and grocery stores tripling the price. Pshhaw.

Just so you’re aware, now that we’ve eaten the mighty lobster once, we need never do it again. 

Bon Apetit!

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