Lobster

I’d known about the recent development of lobster as “fancy food”, but this article had some surprises to it. I particularly love the idea of servants rebelling against thrice-a-week lobster dinners.  “More potatoes and cabbage, or else!”

In North America, the American lobster did not achieve popularity until the mid-19th century, when New Yorkers and Bostonians developed a taste for it, and commercial lobster fisheries only flourished after the development of the lobster smack, a custom-made boat with open holding wells on the deck to keep the lobsters alive during transport.  Prior to this time, lobster was considered a mark of poverty or as a food for indentured servants or lower members of society in Maine, Massachusetts and the Canadian Maritimes, and servants specified in employment agreements that they would not eat lobster more than twice per week. American lobster was initially deemed worthy only of being used as fertiliser or fish bait, and it was not until well into the twentieth century that it was viewed as more than a low-priced canned staple food…

Hard-shell lobsters with firm shells but with less sweet meat can survive shipping to Boston, New York and even Los Angeles so they command a higher price than new-shell lobsters. Meanwhile, old-shell lobsters, which have not shed since the previous season and have a coarser flavour, can be air-shipped anywhere in the world and arrive alive, making them the most expensive. One seafood guide notes that an eight dollar lobster dinner at a restaurant overlooking fishing piers in Maine is consistently delicious, while “the eighty-dollar lobster in a three-star Paris restaurant is apt to be as much about presentation as flavor”.

via Lobster – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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