Day 27: Cook A Live Lobster. AH!

Today was a very emotional day. I hadn’t gotten much sleep the past 2 nights so, even before the lobster, I had been feeling like I wanted to cry and pass out. The lobster was just another straw. There was no getting around this. The day had come.

I have always been really sensitive. Especially towards the feelings of animals and animal things. I say ‘animal things’  because when I was growing up I imagined that even non-living ones had feelings. I always hated having to choose the select stuffed animals and pillows that would sleep on my bed, because of course the ones excluded, that had to stay on my rocking chair or shelf, were crying on the inside at being left out and unwanted. It broke my heart, and there were many nights I would cry with them. (At one stage in my life I solved this problem by making sure all my ‘friends’ were on the end of my bed, all the time.) You can only imagine how this heartbreak was obviously increased when living animals were effected. I cried when my dog killed bunnies (and every time I saw a bunny after that, real or fake), I cried when horses went down with the men in war movies (I still do), and I definitely cried when my mom would cook live lobsters. I remember one time specifically when we were in New Hampshire and my mom brought them home to cook. I ran into the other room while she put them on the stove to boil and when I came back in and heard the hissing noises coming from the pot, my family told me the lobsters were screaming in pain. I ran from the room, crying. I remember being so angry with my mom that day for the ‘evil’ act she committed. Ever since then, I’ve always avoided lobsters being cooked.

I was supposed to cook a lobster last weekend, but my sister, Deb, talked me out of it. I knew, however, that I was going to do it eventually, for the sole reason that it was something I could add to my blog list (I still don’t have close to 181 things to do! View the Up and Coming and help me add some!). So today, I finally did it. And thank goodness, at the time I’m writing this, it is all over.

I was going to ask my parents or sister to pick up the lobster from the store so I would have as little pre-cooked interaction with it as possible, but I gave myself a pep-talk and stopped by the grocery store on my way home from church. I reluctantly walked to the Seafood counter and asked for a live lobster. I couldn’t help but look at the poor creatures piled on top of each other in the corners of their funeral home, not knowing they were prepared for death. And those florescent lights were probably killing their eyes. I immediately looked away in sadness and disgust when the clerk scraped them off of each other with a rake-like object and scooped one out. This was not a good way to start the experience. I asked her how to keep the lobster until I cooked it and upon hearing that I had to take it out of the bag (so it wouldn’t suffocate!) and put it into a bowl in the fridge with damp paper, I cringed. I had thought I could just leave it in the opaque bag and forget it was there, but you’re telling me I had to take it out? I thanked her and walked to the front to pay. I tried not to think of what I would name a lobster if I had one for a pet. I knew this wasn’t a pet. While walking with the bag from the Seafood counter to my car, I made sure to hold it out as far away as possible, not wanting the lobster to move and hit me. I didn’t want to feel it’s presence anymore than I had to.  I put it into the back of my car and turned the music up so I wouldn’t hear any movements (or crying).

When I got home, I put the lobster on the counter, and to my horror, in the silence I could hear the lobster breathing! The clicking noise was too much to handle so I got a bowl and wet paper towels and transferred the lobster as quickly as possible. Thank goodness he came in a smaller mesh bag so I didn’t have to touch him. Yet. That’s when I realized that his claw wasn’t fitting in the bowl! I hated to do it, I hated it, but I touched his claw and tried to bend his ‘arm’.  He wouldn’t let me. Screw that, I didn’t care, I just covered him up with a towel and put him in the fridge. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. I couldn’t get the creature out of my mind for then next 5 hours. And when those hours had passed, I had to cook him.

Every time I opened the fridge I could just picture him cringing, thinking that this was the time I was going to pluck him out and send him to his death. Well, this actually was the time. The water in his coffin was boiling and my heart was pounding. I had thought I was doing pretty good with keeping my emotions in check… until I took him out of the fridge.

I cut the mesh bag he was in so I could get him out, but then I froze. I just couldn’t pick him up. I just couldn’t. My mom, playing the role of my personal cheerleader, exclaimed, “you pick up crayfish in New Hampshire all the time! You put them on hooks and feed them to fish! You can do this!” But it wasn’t the same! This guy was huge!

I thought maybe, if I could get him out of the mesh bag, I could just dump him from the bowl to the pot, not touching him. This was a TERRIBLE IDEA. When I pulled the mesh bag from underneath him, he flipped over, exposing his grossly-colored underside, and started moving. Really moving. I screamed, and backed up against the wall on the opposite side of the kitchen. From the top of the bowl I could see him frantically flailing  his spider-like legs! I wanted to throw up. I took a deep breath, crept towards the bowl, and in one swift movement dumped him into the pot and slammed the lid down. Mission accomplished! The next ten minutes fortunately went uneventfully (nothing like the lobster episode from Julie & Julia, thank goodness!), and before I knew it I was faced with the next unwanted task. If I thought killing the lobster was the saddest thing I had done, then de-shelling the lobster was probably the grossest.

I now had the bright-orange creature on a platter and was ready to excavate the meat. My mom was standing near by with all these silver tools (they looked like torturing devices- at least I did the poor little guy a service by killing him then ripping him apart rather than doing the latter first) and directing me. Ripping the claws off wasn’t so bad. But then came the tail. I had some trouble and then all of the sudden, “CRACK”. Before I knew it there was bright red and green nastiness overflowing out of the lobster’s severed body and staring me in the face! “EW! WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?” “His insides.”  “IS THAT NORMAL??” “Yep. Here (hands me a torture device)- clean that out so we can get the meat.”  WHAATTT?!? NOOOO this is so gross! I disconnected my thoughts from my mind (and my stomach from my mouth) and went through the motions. Finally, but not soon enough, the meat was cleaned and separated from the shells.

I tried it, because I felt I had to, and nothing had changed from the earlier 22 years of my life: I still thought lobster was disgusting. Anyways, my mom loves it, and that’s who I made it for, and said this guy tasted delicious. I guess that makes this blog moment a victory. Well, maybe not for the lobster.

And now, I can finally relax and watch the OSCARS!! Thank goodness Lady Gaga won’t be attending dressed in lobster meat.

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4 Comments on “Day 27: Cook A Live Lobster. AH!”

  1. blondiy0212 Says:

    :( I cried :(

  2. blondiy0212 Says:

    ps….I don’t think I will ever eat lobster again

  3. MaryEllen Says:

    At least you had some idea before entering into this adventure what “boiling a lobster” involved. My first experience (…and LAST!!!!) was an event that still makes me ill. Like your Mom…I too loved lobster meat, but never realized how they were prepared….BOILED ALIVE!!! Guess I always thought that those poor creatures in the tanks at restaurants were just for our viewing pleasure. I know I wanted to buy them all and set them free… but that’s another story. I’m sure not a farmer and to this day can’t understand how 4H kids can raise an animal and then sell it to be slaughter. If I had to kill to eat…I’d be a lot thinner!!!

  4. Morgan Says:

    I died. I am proud of you for doing it though. Now you never have to do it again!


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