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Old 01-01-2005, 04:25 PM   #1
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Lobster Tale

Nature can be so cruel. I love lobster, think it is one of the top two or three deliciousest foods in the world. (I also feel this way about watermelon. Watermelon is what I imagine the gods on Olympus eat. My idea of a heavenly meal is lobster in clarified butter with iced watermelon and melons.)

Anyway, though I adore lobster, I've always had a problem with the cooking method -- you know, live animal into the boiling water <wince>. But I always got over it, sorta. But then I saw the most marvelous nature show a few years ago, all about lobsters, their lives in the briny deep and so on. Their lives are amazing. A certain kind of lobster does a migration, something like 2,000-mile-long conga line from southern waters to the north. Each lobster is the exact same distance away from the lobster ahead of him, and they trot along the floor of the ocean, like Thoroughbred pacers, very fast. The filmmakers set up a camera on the ocean floor. Picture this incredibly long line of lobsters, trotting for hundreds of miles, each one perfectly spaced with the guy ahead of him and behind him ...

Yesterday I was in the grocery store and as always, I stopped at the lobster tank to watch the lobsters for awhile. I never realized it, but at the end of their legs -- their little legs, the non-big claw ones -- they have a little two-digit pincer, that opens and closes like a little fist. This one lobster was at the side of the tank, leaning up, and he was pincing at the glass as though trying to find something to grasp, to climb out. Tap-tap-tap, pause ... tap, tap. He was beautiful, dark brown, velvety coat with golden blotches. For two cents, I'd have bought him and taken him home and set him up in his own acquarium, with craggy things to climb around on -- or no, I'd have driven him to where he would normally have been in his migration, and set him free. Run, little lobster, run like the wind!

How can I ever eat lobster again? How can I not ever eat lobster again???

SOB.


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Old 01-01-2005, 05:44 PM   #2
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Thank you for sharing. I could actually see this all unfolding in my head!

:) Barbara
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:29 AM   #3
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Awww, lobster bonding - how cute!

When I was little, my dad hunted - a lot; to put food on the table, although he was a sport hunter, he never hunted anything for a 'rack', and never put up a 'blind', went out and tracked. As a toddler, I remember being excited when Daddy came home with a big buck, or rabbit, or pheasant, and had a whole collection of feathers and tails. Then, at about 6 or 7 (? the age of 'reason') it all of a sudden hit me that Daddy was bringing home Bambi and Thumper, and that I was expected to eat them at the dinner table!

Well, Daddy took me out to the woods, and explained his philosophy to me, that we had been given the animals, along with the 'fruits of the field' to eat; he told me that when he was young, he had a friend who is a Native American, and they would go hunting all the time. Whenever his friend would bring down an animal, he always said a prayer over the animal, thanking him for providing food for his family's table.

I've always remembered that, and hold somewhat 'sacred' all of the food we eat, even the 'beasts' and fishes of the seas.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:47 AM   #4
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This is a very sensitive topic to reply to, and I have to be careful how I go about this. All meat was once living...beef, fish, pork, lobster, etc. Each has to die in order to be consumed (except for live oysters, etc, but I'm not going to talk about that). You have to accept the fact that if you are to eat meat, something will have to die in whatever manner for this to take place. It's just that with lobster, you actually witness the "death", and for certain folks, this is troublesome.

I for one cannot enjoy eating without meat in my diet. The entrees that I cook are designed around meat, and branch out from there. I respect the vegitarian, however, I cannot be one. If it's a religious issue, God created us with these teeth called canines, which flank our smile on our upper rows of teeth, whose sole purpose is to rip into flesh, like it or not.

Ah, but I digress. The reason that lobster is kept live until the very end is because there is a natural bacteria within the lobster that, upon the lobster's death, begins to immediately break down and deteriorate the flesh.

Some Americans are repulsed at the prospect of live or fresh food. Most would like their (chicken or whatever) wrapped in plastic and sitting for a week at the local food store. I guess this makes it more tasty to some, but not for me. The fresher the better.
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:32 AM   #5
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ok, here's a compromise. for people squeamish about sending lobsters to their boiling watery deaths, you could do 1 of 2 things to reduce their suffering.
the first is to take a knife and plunge it between the eyes of the lobster, into the shell, thus instantly putting it out of it's misery, like slaughtering any animal for food.
the second one is my favorite, but a waste of good vodka imo. make a bath of vodka, water, and ice, and submerge the lobsters in it. they will ingest some of the vodka and get drunk, as well as slow their metabolisms from the ice. they will appear to have passed out drunk when you toss them into the pot.
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Old 01-06-2005, 04:39 PM   #6
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I see two other options.

1. Invite a friend over for dinner who does not mind putting the lobsters in the pot while you stay in the living room sipping on a nice glass of wine.

or

2. Take a trip of New England and go to any of the lobster shacks along the coast. Let someone else do the cooking and cleaning :)

I cooked my first lobsters this past year. I had always wanted to do it because lobster is one of my favorite foods, but I had a hard time dealing with cooking it alive or putting a knife through its head. Well I ended up cooking them alive and I do have to say it was a bit disturbing, but I got over it and would (and will) do it again.

On a separate note, Catseye, next time you have lobster try using regular melted butter instead of clarified butter. My whole life I had only used clarified butter because that is how you eat lobster, but then I hear that Jasper White serves his lobsters with just melted butter. What a difference. I loved it. I still like it with clarified, but melted is a nice change of pace.
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Old 01-06-2005, 06:31 PM   #7
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Be aware that if you use the buckytom method of disposing of the lobster, it is still going to wiggle and flop around - a little disconcerting if you're not ready for it!
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:24 PM   #8
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Plunging a lobster headfirst into boiling water should kill it instantly. To make it easier place the lobster in the freezer with a wet/damp tea towel over it for about a half hour. The cold will sedate it and may even put it to sleep.

Just make sure it is head first, no need to make it suffer.
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Old 01-07-2005, 01:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalady
Be aware that if you use the buckytom method of disposing of the lobster, it is still going to wiggle and flop around - a little disconcerting if you're not ready for it!
Very true. Even though it's killed instantly, it still twitches for some time which may not be the best thing for people who think that they are torturing it. In fact, if you remove the tail immediately afterwards and tap it, it will curl up. Live Mirugai, or giant clam, at sushi restaurants will do the same thing...curl when you tap it.
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Old 01-07-2005, 01:30 AM   #10
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Thanks, Haggis! I like that solution. It's actually a non-issue, since I can't afford to buy lobster, anyway, LOL. But if I'm ever in a position of having to cook lobster, I'll definitely use your method.

Thanks to everyone for all your replies. I must tell you, I intended the original post to only be half-serious in the first place. I can't say I actually agonize over the matter. We don't treat any of our food animals all that well, after all. You could go nuts if you spent any amount of time thinking about it.


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Old 01-08-2005, 02:42 AM   #11
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Not to mention a crawfish boil that is popular here in Louisiana. Instead of just one lobster being boiled, it's thousands of live crawfish being plunged into the water at the same time.
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Old 06-23-2005, 06:08 AM   #12
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Hi All

Thought I'd add my bit here.

I love lobster and fresh is definitely best - even if the fishmonger says it's fresh, you don't know how fresh.

Plus, if you want to split and grill it - it needs to be raw (ish)

Good method

Into a plastic bag and then in the freezer for two hours - this puts it into a deep sleep.

Then into a pan of boiling water to kill it - if you're going to grill or barbecue it - (raw) then just give it one and a half minutes - this will kill it for sure so that you can split and grill/barbecue.

If you're going to eat it as a cooked lobster, then boil it for 8 minutes per pound.

Hope this helps the squeamish

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Old 06-23-2005, 06:58 AM   #13
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cats, you could buy lobster tails. maybe that'd be easier.
but if you prefer fresh lobster, and you're gonna cook it as soon as you get home, you could ask the fishmonger to do it in for you. i won't say how, but one place around here does that for you if you want.
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Old 06-23-2005, 10:29 PM   #14
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I wish I could afford lobster. I have no compunction about boiling one (or more) alive. Bring on the butter!
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Old 06-24-2005, 04:38 AM   #15
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The problem with the "tree hugging - bunny loving" PBS nature shows is that they don't tell you all the story - in the case of lobsters, crabs and crayfish - the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. They are not like mammals.

Buckytom's method #1 is good ... I'm not going to waste good vodka on getting the lobster drunk first. Of course, if you consume enough vodka first .... dang the torpedoes, plunge that baby in the pot!

Someone else mentioned the method of using a chef's knife - drive the point in behind the head and tail and then pull down forward to split the head in half. That works - so does an ax cleaving your skull in "Friday 13th - part 47".

Hey - just throw the puppy in the freezer for about 30-min to an hour, or put it in an ice water bath ... put it to sleep before you dispatch it to culinary heaven (with lots of clarified butter).

I grew up spending summers on my Uncles farms and ranches ... you want a steak, you gotta kill a cow - if you want fried chicken on Sunday - Grandma has to ring a neck or two (and I usually got stuck on "plucking" duty).

And, for our Vegan friends ... there is EEG research that shows that plants exhibit "death" similar to mammals. So, the next time you pick up a bag of carrotts ....
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Old 06-24-2005, 05:58 AM   #16
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LOL

All very funny - I wouldn't want to plunge a knife into a lobster - I'm a bit squeamish and they flap around a bit apparently, which could be very unpleasant. That's why if I'm grilling or barbecuing lobster, I freeze it, then into boiling water for just a minute and a half to kill it - then I have no hesitation in cutting it in half and enjoying.

Do you know what though - I actually prefer the taste of crab to lobster.

This is a great message board - I've been offline for a couple of months - my dad's been ill and has died, so I've not had much time for internet things - sure glad to be back though.

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Old 06-24-2005, 07:59 AM   #17
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my sympathies for your loss liz. your dad is enjoying all the crab and lobster he wants in heaven now.

to stay on topic, make sure your pot of water is at an extreme rolling boil, especially if you have large (2 lbs. +) lobsters and you're gonna chuck 'em in alive. the last time i made them i was in a hurry and didn't wait until the water was at a full rolling boil. it was boiling, but not at it's maximum. i popped the first live lobster in, and he died instantly. i then put in the second one, shortly after so they'd cook in the same amount of time, but the temp of the water came way down from the first lobster sinking it. so the second guy was alive for a good 5 minutes, until the water came back to the full boil. it really creeped me out (as i melted the butter and nuked the potates ).
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Old 06-24-2005, 08:05 AM   #18
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Thanks Buckytom - that's really nice of you - it happened very quickly and although we expected it, he was supposed to be coming out of hospital the next morning - less than 6 hours to go, I got a call to say he'd died. Big shock but thankfully I'd been with him that day and my mum was with him when he died - very peacefully.

And a really good point about the lobster - would have upset me too and I'm not normally squeamish - but glad to see you enjoyed them anyway.

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Old 06-24-2005, 09:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalady
Be aware that if you use the buckytom method of disposing of the lobster, it is still going to wiggle and flop around - a little disconcerting if you're not ready for it!

I don't mind the flopping around so much. It's the screaming I have trouble with.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:24 AM   #20
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lol andy. i wonder if maine lobsters scream with a new england accent???

ahhhh, the water's wicked hot!!!!

btw, liz, it's hard not to read your seafood site like bubba from "forrest gump"...
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