Frontier Psychiatrist

5 Tips for Cooking Your Very Own Lobstah

Posted on: August 22, 2012

All right, you’ve seen and heard it everywhere: we are experiencing a glut of lobster this season.  Yes, a glut.  This word alone seems to have infiltrated the world at a higher rate than the actual lobsters it’s describing, but never mind.  The lobsters are everywhere, and basically asking to be eaten!  Growing up, I vacationed in Maine every summer with my family.  It took until my early teens to appreciate the glory of a fresh lobster, but upon enlightenment I made great, eager strides to make up for lost time.  Never in all my years of Maine-ing, however, did it ever occur to me that I could make my own lobster.  Since most lobster in the northeast comes from Maine anyway, I never had the desire to cook one at home; I always waited patiently until August to eat a lobster from the motherland.

This year I went into vacation with the determination to buy and cook a live lobster.  I saw this as a Michael Pollan-esque move, conjuring the scene from The Omnivore’s Dilemma when he hunts and eats wild boar, because he feels that if we eat meat, we should at least understand (if not be involved in) the process of an animal becoming food.  So, following these footsteps, I put on my big girl shoes, bought two wriggling lobsters, and brought them home in a paper bag that I carried at arm’s length, should any of its inhabitants become too feisty.  I giggled and squealed throughout this entire process in a way that I don’t expect Mr. Pollan did while hunting for boar.

Into the sauna…

Back in the kitchen of our rustic Maine cabin, I boiled about 2 inches of water in the largest pot we had, while my crustacean friends lifted and lowered their claws, poking at the sides of the bag, which I had at that point torn open a bit to look at them.  The water came to a boil, and in the end—full disclosure—I made someone else drop my lobsters into the pot.  I could have done it (really, I could have!), but I was squealing with fear and excitement, and my control over the situation was usurped by some calmer folks who really wanted to eat dinner.  Once the water returned to a boil, we waited about 13 minutes, and that was that.  My lobsters were a glorious orange-red and, within a few minutes of cooling time, ready to eat.  So simple it hardly qualifies as a recipe.  So simple, in fact, that in my experience, lobster is the only food that takes longer to eat than to cook.  Luckily, you’ll enjoy every moment of eating.  Now, before you go out and be the glutton that this glut demands, mind the following advice:

  1. Don’t get attached.  Do not say hi to your lobster, do not examine its face, do not let it walk across your table.  DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES name your lobster Ferdinand and giggle and wave when he wags a rubber-banded claw in your direction.  Just don’t do it.  If you must, remind yourself that the lobster is a close relative to the cockroach.  Then forget this information when it comes time to eat.
  1. Make the cooking part of this experience as quick as possible.  I read a recipe for lobster rolls that suggests that you freeze the lobster while your water boils.  This puts them to sleep a little, so that when you plunge them into their 212 degree doom, it doesn’t hurt as much.  This is as close to humane as the experience gets.
  1. Beautifully extracted tail meat

    Get a cracker.  Even with a proper lobster cracker, it is not an easy task to break down some hard-shelled lobsters.  Make sure you have the right tools or you’re in for a long, torturous meal.

  1. Be prepared to make a mess.  I have mentioned that lobster is not a graceful food to eat.  You will look silly, and you will dribble onto your bib.  It’s all good.  Just move important documents and electronics out of the general vicinity.
  1. Don’t forget the butter.  Go on and embrace your inner Paula Deen.  She gets it right once in a while.  Clarified butter and lobster are meant to be.  Don’t resist.

 Freya Bellin writes alternate Wednesdays for Frontier Psychiatrist. Her recent FP recipes include This Is My JamPresto! It’s Pesto, and Red, White, and Tipsy.


6 Responses to "5 Tips for Cooking Your Very Own Lobstah"

If the lobster is fresh, butter is redundant. Butter is only used to give the lobster back the creamy taste it should already have. However, getting fresh lobster is not easy. Just because it’s alive does not mean it’s fresh! It has to be right out of the clean, flowing, cold, salt water it grew up in. Not out of a tank. It makes a difference, believe me. But either way it is a marvel.

Good point!

[…] you may be on a tight budget this month, due to last month’s lobster binge.  That’s ok.  Today’s recipes are not only gloriously cheap, but delightfully simple, which […]

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[…] Frontier Psychiatrist. Her recent FP recipes include Cooking Social, Never Too Many Tomatoes, and Your Very Own Lobstah. Share this:ShareEmailTwitterFacebookRedditStumbleUponYahoo BuzzDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

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