WARNING: All animal rights activists and otherwise squeamish people may want to skip this post. You’ve been warned.
After a morning of missing the schoolbus and epic meltdowns (none of them mine, I’m proud to say) I should have known better than to tempt fate by attempting AGAIN to obtain a lobster for the Lobster Corn Chowder that I was still craving. But when I found myself approaching the Wegmans with no children in the backseat to protest, I decided to stop in and inquire.
Turns out, there were plenty o’ live lobsters crawling around in their tank, but none were cooked. The nice guy behind the counter was happy to cook a lobster for me, but it would be 30 minutes before he could get to the steamer.
I debated coming back AGAIN tomorrow, but really, I have better things to do than trek to Wegman’s every day. And tomorrow I’ll have my 4-year-old with me all day, which was pretty much the clincher. So I asked for instructions on boiling a lobster and gingerly took the bag holding my new friend to the car.
Now, you should know, I was born in Maine — Vacationland and home of the lobster. My mom lived her whole life in Maine until she married my dad and took up residence south of the Mason Dixon Line. We visit Maine about once a year. I have watched my mom boil lobsters on more than one occasion, and I’ve certainly eaten more than my fair share with their beady little eyes staring at me the entire time.
But despite all that, I was NOT prepared for a LIVE lobster in my kitchen with his long antennae waving about and his squirmy crustacean legs, flicking that decadent meaty tail. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get him from the bag to the pan on my stove.
When it came time to boil Larry the Lobster and put him out of his misery, I took the bag out of the fridge and set it on the counter.
At first I thought he was dead, he was so still. Then I panicked. Is it okay to cook him and eat him if he’s already dead?
So I did what every independent woman does when she’s in a bind. I called my mommy. Unfortunately there was no answer so I went to my trusty computer and typed in, “Can you eat a dead lobster?”
To which some wise a$$ instructed, “You wouldn’t want to eat a live one, would you?” and then went on to direct me to TOUCH HIS EYES to tell if he’s alive.
Oh I’m SURE I will NOT be touching a lobster’s EYES, dead or alive. Fortunately the article assured me that if the lobster was freshly dead, he was still okay to cook and eat.
Relieved, I returned to the kitchen and took a look at ole Larry. His antenna moved, and I squealed.
Y’all. I don’t do animals. I don’t even have pets. I silently berated myself for not waiting until tomorrow for the guy at Wegman’s to cook him for me.
Meanwhile, three curious girls came running to see what all the fuss was about.
I tried to convince one of them to put the lobster in the pot of boiling water for me, but no one was volunteering. I even showed them a YouTube video I found of a guy boiling a lobster, but no dice. I know he can’t pinch me or anything with his claws safely secured with thick rubber bands, but those antennae waving around were more than I could handle.
So I put on an oven mitt and picked up a set of tongs and tried to pick him up that way. It worked so well for the guy in the YouTube video, but for me? Notsomuch. Every time I went for him with the tongs, he started flailing around, and he kept sliding out of my grasp. With each attempt, I got more and more skeeved out by the waving antennae and the thrashing tail, and it was becoming abundantly clear that the tong method was not working for me.
Trying to be helpful, my 6-year-old suggested that we call her father. I assured her that he wouldn’t be any more willing to pick up the lobster than she was. Then my 4-year-old suggested that we call the worker men. It’s nice to know that I’m raising such independent women here. My son just shook his head from the safety of his perch on the couch.
On my fourth or fifth attempt, the tail thrashed and the tongs slipped and poor Larry went OOOF! Right on the floor.
That was the last straw. I collapsed into a heap of hysterical laughter as the girls ran screaming from the room.
Finally I gathered my wits about me and resolutely picked up the tongs and went in for the final round of Housewife vs. Larry the Lobster, and I plopped that feisty crustacean into that pot of boiling water.
I have never been so relieved to put a lid on a pot in my LIFE.
After about eight minutes, it was time to pull him out of the pot, this time without a fight.
Now THAT’S a lobster I know what to do with. After he cooled off a bit, I pulled him apart and harvested the meat inside, and this is where he ended up.