Saturday, November 10, 2012

Episode 20: Long Live Lobster

As the title suggests, lobster is the name of the game. But first things first: I MADE IT. 

The first part of my "Coast-to-Coast" Bicycle Pilgrimage is over as of 14 days ago. Technically my bicycle and I went coastal state-to-coastal state since Ellensburg is smack dab in the middle of Washington, but let's not worry about the details. The "bicycle" part is still an option, basically until the weather doesn't allow me to, and the "pilgrimage" is not over as I'm visiting some monasteries this month. Click here and you get (more or less) the route Kyle and I took to Minneapolis, and what I took the rest of the way.

Atop Cadillac Mountain, 1,528 feet above sea level.
Maine: the lobster state. Everyone told me the lobster season was good this year, from Montana to Wisconsin to the local lobsterman in Maine. I arrived in the lovely state of Maine via the western border city of Fryeburg and onto Brunswick, my first official Atlantic coast city, at dusk. At that time I was in the highest spirits of recent memory, after going through tough weather, (rain, wind, snow) and sickness (cold & fever), all going through three sets of mountains in the Appalachians (the Adirondacks, Green Mountains, & White Mountains). I ended up at the Brunswick and the stayed in Portland after a night on the town with a local. Then went onto Bar Harbor, a piece of cake except for rain and constant kickers of hills that killed my morale. But I made it up to Cadillac Mountain, the highest mountain on the Atlantic Coast, north of Brazil.

So lobster. Crustaceans. This summer they were going for $2/lb.! The cheapest I found was $3.99- still cheaper than anywhere else, even the New Brunswick lobstermen protested for fair prices because of the U.S. surplus driving down market price. Price = cheap. Preparation- they have to be alive before you cook them otherwise their digestive juices end up breaking down the organs, giving off an enzyme and eventually going bad. So wait... I have to kill it to cook it?!

But... Butt...
I stare at it. It moves. I flinch.

"I hate creepy crawlies."

Nicole simply picks it up and hands it to me like it's a play thing.
Tells me, "If you rub it between the eyes, it goes to sleep."

I rub it. It goes limp. Doesn't help my courage one bit.

"You'll put one in?"

"... Ok."

And I am up close and personal to the biggest one I've encountered. I work up the courage to pick it up and get proof via picture.

Cooking lobster. In an apron.
Done. No big deal. I just killed something. Do I have to go to confession for that? Is there such thing as humane killing? It was in a coma when I put it in the boiling water. It came out freshly boiled and looking yummy, not like it did squirming half an hour ago. I ate my lobster, my lobster, with this in mind, thinking how different I would feel if I ordered one from a restaurant and paid three times as much.
Dinner: served.

But as I slowly shucked it up, from bottom side down the middle and same up top, slurping up the juices and slathering butter all over; it's a messy affair really. The fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach and boy did Maine win my heart.

Dinner: served again.
At the end of it all, I ended up having 5 lobsters in the 6 days I was in Maine, two in Portland, two in Belfast, and another in Trenton just outside of Bar Harbor with a lobsterman and his family. Sure, Acadia National Park, Mt. Cadillac, Catholic mass at a record 38 minutes with music and all, Bath where they're making a super stealth destroyer are great stories, but that'll be for another time... all for the sake of lobster.

Until next time.

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