There are few things as unnerving as making eye contact with something on your plate. Yes, sitting down to eat a boiled lobster can be intimidating. But, it should come as no surprise that the best place to find a fresh lobster–Maine–is also the best place to learn to eat one. As they say, “when in Rome…” etc. So, grab some lobster crackers and melted butter and let’s get started.
First, see that plastic bib with the bright red lobster on it? Throw that to the side, you won’t be needing it. Maine is a visceral experience, and we don’t like to wash our feet with our socks on. Besides, all our flannel shirts are already heavily stained with lobster juice.
Ok, ready to get crackin’? Don’t be alarmed by the hard red exterior or that your dinner looks like a giant insect. If eating boiled lobster with your bare hands appeals to you because it’s ironically barbaric, stop. You’re doing it wrong. There is nothing ironic about this.
Of course, it should be noted that before the late 1800s, lobster was literally junk food fed to indentured servants and prisoners. In some cases the prisoners even refused to eat it more than twice a week. Now it’s considered a delicacy, go figure. Although, this probably says more about the nature of people’s tastes than the taste of lobster.
Now then, grab either claw and twist it off. You’ll notice one is bigger than the other because lobsters are left or right “handed” like people. The similarities end there, though, they are not sentient creatures, as far as we know.
Have you cracked open a walnut before? Good, use the same principle on the shell of the lobster. If juice squirts out and sprays you or your companion, just laugh and enjoy the authenticity of this experience.
Keep the use of utensils to a minimum, opting instead for your bare hands. If you have to, use a lobster pick or fork to extract the meat. Thoroughly dip the morsel in melted butter and enjoy. With the tender meat of a fabled Maine lobster in your greasy hands, you’ll have something even more elusive than authenticity: decadence.
Move on to the body, bending and twisting the tail backwards until it snaps off. Don’t look into their tiny boiled eyes, there’s nothing to see there. There is a lot of meat in the tail. You can also break off these leg things and kind of chew on them and suck some stuff out. Yum!
If your lobster is female, you may find some unfertilized eggs or roe in its body. Eat those. Then there is this green stuff called tomalley, which functions as the lobster’s liver. It’s a delicacy, eat that too.
If you did it right, you should be pretty full with your face fairly covered in lobster juice and melted butter. I think you’ll agree, that was a one-of-a-kind experience.
Yes, there is such a thing as a lobster roll, where all the meat has been removed, mixed with mayonnaise, and stuffed into a hot dog bun. If that sounds appealing, try the Eagle’s Nest restaurant in Brewer, Maine.
There is also such a thing as “fried haddock” which is probably what I would have ordered.