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March 17, 2019 11:36 pmComments are Disabled

Lobster is a religion in my family.

Every summer growing up, we would drive to the shore and sit at those campy picnic tables with the red and white plaid pattern plastic covering and order a mess of boiled lobsters. I learned at an early age how to chew the cartilage out of the legs and crack open the tail, scoop out the extra meat in the joints and, as the coup de grace, remove the claws, extra points if both were removed intact.

Our family trip to Maine one year was a lobster bonanza. Tanks of lobsters on display everywhere, fresh off the boat. Lobster rolls and lobster chowder, lobster mac and cheese.

For a terrifying couple years, I thought I was allergic to lobster due to a bad reaction I had to one. It was so bad I wrote a poem about it modeled off Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. I stayed away from what had, by then, become my favorite food, until an allergy test confirmed I was safe.

I have personally introduced at least ten people to the art of cooking and eating lobster; oh yes, I forgot to mention, lobster is the only animal I’ve ever killed and eaten myself. You definitely feel more connected to your food when you’re the one doing the killing.

We often joke that someone hasn’t joined the family until they’ve successfully eaten a lobster with us. Even now, I insist on boiling up lobsters when I come home to visit.

I almost always avoid getting lobster at restaurants. Anything with ‘MP’ on the menu is certainly a waste of money. Besides, the best lobster experience is not at a fancy restaurant where the shell is pre-cracked and it comes with a side of truffle fries. The best lobster experience is with friends or family, at the beach, with a cheap bottle of white wine and a pile of shells in the middle of the table, with moist flecks of random detritus spewing everywhere as people attack and crack their sea bugs, getting your clothes all messed up with the juices, splashing the butter everywhere, and just enjoying the moment.

Most people don’t get to grow up in New England and have this sort of experience as adults, let alone as children. I am fortunate that I have; and I feel fortunate that I’m not jaded and I still recognize it as special, even after doing it hundreds of times.

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