It’s almost that time, the middle/end of the summer when Lobster eating mania takes over the east coast. Truckloads of the tasty crustaceans travel from Maine to restaurants all over the region, and suddenly, lobster dishes start cropping up on menus everywhere. The favorite of course is the famed Lobster Roll, a delicacy that I hadn’t even heard of before I moved to Boston. Like the popular “clam chowdah,” every restaurant makes their signature roll, with different feels and flavors, and types of bread.
But despite all that deliciousness, the process of how that yummy meat is extracted is infamous, and even a bit scary. The practice seems almost barbaric to the poor lobsters, and while casually shopping and passing by the seafood counter I couldn’t help but notice the tank teeming with lobsters that would soon become someone’s dinner where the last thing they see is a pot of boiling water. I know I’m not unique in my lobster guilt, and it wasn’t until I listened to the most recent RadioLab, “The Luckiest Lobster,” that I realized I wasn’t the only one who longed save these poor creatures from a boiling watery death.
The story begins exactly the same, with a trip to the grocery store and a meandering past the seafood counter. A woman was admiring the lobster wares and noticed that one lobster stood out more than the others, it was absolutely huge and looked cramped in the small tank due to its size. Somehow, the enormity of the lobster combined with its small space, made her want to help the poor creature more than anything, and she dubbed it “Nick.” When she inquired about what the fate of Nick was to be, the grocery store assured her that he wasn’t going to be anyone’s dinner. He was, of course, a professional lobster, and it was his job to attract the eyes of passersby to the seafood counter and encourage them to purchase one of his tasty friends. This lobster was apparently passed from store to store to perform this duty, being spared from any pots of boiling water. Still, she thought to herself, he is so cramped in that tiny tank, wouldn’t he be happier in his home in Maine? Nick was approximately 75 years old, and since lobsters never stop growing throughout their lifetime, it was likely he would get even larger in the years to come. There she began her journey to return Nick to his rightful waters.
The radio went on to say that this woman’s quest to save a lucky lobster was not unique, and often when people see enormous lobsters, they are filled with the desire to set it free rather than eat it. It’s nice knowing that a few lobsters get a break, even if most of them make their way to our plates. Despite my reservations about boiling lobsters alive, however, I have to say that living in Boston has turned me into a lobster lover. Anyone who visits should try a lobster roll hands down, and I have to recommend the Omni Parker House Hotel Lobster Roll or Moulton’s Seafood Lobster Roll. Both are excellent, and the perfect rich but refreshing and delicious way to welcome the summer months. To hear the lucky lobster story, download it free on iTunes!