I recently had an experience that I feel pretty strongly a lot of people can relate to. I felt compelled to write about it and I've never felt compelled to write about anything before. However, I feel drawn to this subject like a moth to a flame and I had to write about it.
Last week, I experienced for the first time the emotional roller coaster that is eating a lobster. Can I hear an amen? I know I'm not the only one. I saw Julie and Julia...she felt bad about it too.
I was helping my friend Andrea pack up her apartment last week and as a thank you she wanted to feed me. As soon as she said she was in the mood for lobster, I began to hem and haw around the subject and throwing out excuses...
"My husband is allergic to shell fish"
"It's so expensive!"
"I've never had lobster before...what if I don't like it?"
I didn't tell her some of my more bizarre reasons, like I have a thing with dismembering a corpse and feasting on its insides and that lobsters look like giant red scorpions or that I was afraid it would come back to life while I was eating it and it would attack me. Call me a pansy, but better safe then sorry.
She deflected all of my concerns expertly, advising me to wash my hands and brush my teeth before I went home, don't worry, she had enough money, and it's ok, if I didn't like it she'd eat the rest later.
STAGE ONE: GUILT
So we get to the store and she picked out two lobsters. I couldn't look. It would only make it more personal. There were two lobsters in the tank that were alive that morning who DIED because we went to to store and FOR NO OTHER REASON.
STAGE TWO: SUSPENSE
She asked the guy to steam them for us since we had packed up her kitchen already, so at least I didn't have to hear them scream. We waited around and picked up a few other things- a good loaf of bread, olive oil, olives, and nuts- to round out our meal. We chatted merrily as our meal was being boiled to death in the back (stage two and a half guilt again).
STAGE THREE: FEAR
"Hey Katty, can you get the bag?"
I walked through the store, waited in line, and drove back to her house holding a bag full of warm lobster corpses. I was petrified. I knew it wasn't likely that they really would come back to life and crawl up my arm....BUT WHAT IF THEY DID??
STAGE FOUR: PITY AND PUTRIFICATION
Honestly, Andrea, you are a hard core woman. I think she was beginning to get a little irritated with me by this point because here's where I had an all out emotional breakdown.
She took them out of the bag and they still and the little rubber band thing around their lifeless claws, reminding me that they lived and died as slaves. Then she began to rip them apart and crack them open with her teeth. I couldn't look but the sound of it had me freaking out. Our friend Robbie came by at that moment, and was pretty entertained by our scene. I was convinced I could never ever ever eat these poor creatures. I began mapping out tactical strategies for sneaking into a 24 hour Kroger and liberating a tank full of lobsters. I decided I was going back to vegetarianism.
STAGE FIVE: HYPOCRISY AND GLEE
The carnage over, their poor bodies spent, I turn my head back to the table to find a pile of delicate white meat placed in front of me. I picked a piece up gingerly between my thumb and forefinger, my face scrunched up in a slight pucker of distaste. I don't know what is going to happen next.
I dip the meat in the olive oil.
Heaven, heaven, heaven.
That's where those lobsters went for making me so happy.
I am a nasty, dirty, hypocrite. I didn't quite care at the time, because I was busy throwing down that wonderful lobster.
So was it worth it? A sly smile creeps across my face as I type those words.
Don't hate, though.
I don't want to be a base torturer of animals, but I know that once in a while, I'm going to get a taste for it. My conclusion is, like with all animal protein I take, it should be taken sparingly and mindfully.
But maybe next time, I'll go for a lobster tail.
EDIT: A month later, I went again to New Hampshire to visit my brother with some friends. We took a day trip out to Boston where I was introduced to the concept of a Lobster Roll. It was AMAZING and I've been dying for another ever since. Here's a great recipe to try if this post has made you Lobster Crazy!