Sunday, July 25, 2010
CATCH OF THE DAY
The first time I ate a lobster, I was in Connecticut.The sign outside the restaurant said TWO LOBSTERS for $8.99. My hubby and I ate there, everyday for a week. The price lured us and the flavor spoiled me. I was hooked. Unfortunately, the price for one of those giant water bugs, goes up, the further inland you go. So when I got home from that vacation... I learned to skip the fancy restaurant, and instead cart the lobsters home from the grocery store in a cardboard carryout box and steam 'em live. But after a while, their cost became prohibitive and the ritual LOBSTER in a POT routine faded away for boring menus of meat and potatoes. And though my mouth watered for the flavor of succulent lobster drizzled in butter... I avoided the purchase each time I went to the store. It had literally been years since I had one... so when I noticed a sign posted at my grocer last week $9.99 LOBSTERS, one and a half pounds... I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted two. The store clerk came over to scoop them out of the tank they were in, just as a mommy and her toddler happened, past. "LOOK! LOOK!" she shrieked to the small child. "See the lobsters swimming. This lady is going to buy one." I smiled. Proud to share the moment, I interjected, "Actually, I'm buying TWO." By now the store clerk had wrestled the first one to the surface, of the water, for my inspection. Placing the lid partially back on top of the tank and sitting the lobster there... he asked me if it was about the right size? I told him it was and reminded him I needed another one. Watching his hand skim the bottom of the tank... the child sat there in the shopping cart wide-eyed, looking directly into the face of the lobster, already on board. The mother said, "This lady is going to take that lobster you're looking at, to her house,and then she's going to cook it up in a great big pot and EAT IT!" The child's eyes welled with tears, looking at the lobster and then back at me. The mother emphasized the EAT IT part, to bring home the point. And the kid got the message. POOR LOBSTER. BAD LADY. I was humiliated. I felt I needed to explain to the child... but it just wasn't my place. I was irritated by their meddling. But what could I say? The woman raised her eyebrows at me as I stood there silently cursing her. " It's my first lobster in years," I managed to exclaim. The small child turned to look at me suspiciously.. Surely, I wouldn't hurt it, would I? Lobster #2 appeared, in the clerks hands. Boxing them up, he said, "You're good to go". I breathed a sigh of relief. The deal was done. Dinner had arrived. No more casual conversation with strangers. These lobsters were coming home with me, right now. However... realizing, the two I had, were leaving all their friends in the tank behind… the child looked SADLY at the other lobsters. And for one brief, fleeting moment, as I stood there watching the innocence of youth... I hesitated, thinking I'd throw my two lobsters back in the tank and be a hero. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. REALITY LOOMED. Would meat and potatoes be a better menu choice? "Did your mom tell you about COWS?", I muttered under my breath, glaring at the woman, as I shuffled past with my CATCH of the DAY. Later that evening... when the lobsters had succumbed to the boiling water... something came over me. I couldn't look into the face of death and retrieve them from the pot. I insisted that my hubby take them out and put 'em on the plates. I thought it would help getting that first bite down. But, truth be told... it only took a minute for me to pull myself together, and overcome any grief I was feeling. Delectable and sweet, that forkful of crustacean melted in my mouth. Such a thing, is worth dying for. Lobsters were born to be eaten.