Tuesday, June 21, 2011
What does bother me is their appearance. I feel a similar way about lobsters as I do about clams -- that is to say, I don't understand the impulse that led the first human being to want to eat a lobster. They're essentially sea-dwelling insects. Mainers often call them "bugs" to be quaint, but it's true. They're arthropods -- invertebrates with exoskeletons, segmented bodies, and jointed appendages. This puts them in the same phylum as spiders, scorpions, ticks, millipedes, and butterflies. Only recently have lobsters been a delicacy. Before the 20th century, lobster was considered low-grade food for poor people, because, hello, they look like giant roaches. In America we don't eat things like spiders and mosquitoes except when they fall into jars of peanut butter at the factory, or when you're riding a bike with your mouth open. You don't have to study lobsters very long to see the similarities to land- and air-dwelling insects, the similarities which gross me out most being the following: spindly little legs, antennae, mandibles, cold dead black eyes, appendages that twitch and wriggle with whatever chemical impulses are at work in their primitive and disgusting nervous systems. The antennae are the worst. While I waited for two pots of water to boil, I left the lobsters in the sink, and their antennae probed moved here and there, feeling around. I flipped them on their backs so they'd pass out -- the downside of having an open circulatory system.
All of this biology-lesson stuff whizzes through my brain while I'm preparing them, but one thing trumps it: lobsters are also delicious with melted butter. These were good, too. Full of meat right up to the shell. Thanks, dad.