We brought two of our students from Alaska to the East Coast for the first two weeks of June. When they called home the first day their families asked, “Have you tried lobster or clams yet?” Apparently, New England is actually quite renowned for these types of seafood. Who knew?! Having grown up in New England on an all-American diet of fish sticks, burgers, and frozen pizzas I had never really appreciated our regional cuisine. But I wasn’t going to let my inexperience with this cuisine hold me back. I couldn’t imagine sending them back without this quintessential New England food experience.
So we decided to make lobster for the girls to try. I ventured to the fish market one morning and found myself staring at the live lobsters crawling all over each other in the tank. The young guy at the fish store asked, “Can I help you?”
“Well, I want to make lobster.” I said.
“Ok,” The guy said, pausing and probably thinking I was an idiot for taking so long to decide how much I wanted.
“Well, I’m feeding four people, but I think I only want two lobsters,” I explained hesitantly.
“Alright, so you want two pounders,” the guy replied and began digging through the tank, picking up lobsters, weighing them in his hand, and discarding them until he found the two perfect ones.
As he was weighing the lobsters and putting them in the bagI worriedly blurted out, “Well, wait, what do I do with these until I’m ready to cook them?” (It was 10am, dinner wouldn’t be until at least 7pm!)
“Oh, you can just leave them in the bag in the fridge, they’ll be fine,” he explained confidently.
Although I was conjuring up images of lobsters escaping from the bag and crawling all over the food in the fridge, I decided to just go with it.
When I got home, I opened up the bag and showed Kyle the live lobsters. He took one out of the bag and held it in his hand then called to the girls upstairs, “Girls, can you come down here for a minute?”
As the girls came down the stairs and rounded the corner into the dining room, Kyle jumped out at them with the live, squirming lobster. Shrieks, the type of high pitched ones that only teenage girls are capabale of, emanated from them and they sprinted back up the stairs with fear. A few minutes later they came downstairs laughing and amusedly chastising Kyle for scaring them.
After an outing that afternoon I was pleased to come home and find the lobsters still in the bag. A lobster pot was found in the cupboards, my Grandma was called for instructions on cooking the lobster, the dark blue lobsters were inserted into the pot with water, and the heat was turned up. Twenty minutes later, we pulled out steaming red lobsters and yelled to the girls, “Dinner is ready!”
After sruggling for a bit to open the claws and get the meat out, we finally ate. “Yum!” was the general consensus. As we ate, we realized that the taste and texture are remarkably similar to the Alaskan King Crab that we regularly get up in AK. While the King Crab has a richer taste and a more delicate texture, it is far easier (and less messy) to get the meat out of a lobster. Overall, we all enjoyed the lobster and can now say that we have had this quintessential New England food experience.