How to cook a lobster

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Jennifer Pallian
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I would like to tell you about lobsters and sisters. Both are special, but lets talk about sisters first. My adorable, happy-go-lucky, green-eyed sister is particularly special, for many reasons. Here are just a few:

1. She thinks I'm funny! I mean, she actually laughs at my jokes! Usually only I laugh at my jokes, so this is a big one. I'd keep her around just for that.

2. She makes killer chocolate chip cookies. And she always gets lazy scooping dough toward the end, so we get to have a ginormous cookie baked in a pie plate to kick off the cookie fest.

3. She is quiet when she wakes up. To me, this is a mind-blowingly impossible ability. She makes breakfast without banging bowls, dropping spoons, or stubbing her toe. This girl has magic powers.

4. She loves dogs and babies as much as I do, and we can talk to either in silly dog-and-baby babble without thinking the other is less cool. (For example, me to dog: "Well hewro you booful rittle roggle dogger! Aren't you a handsome devil! Yes you are! You are just the most handsomest dogger woggle in this whole entire house." - Katie totally gets that, and usually joins in).

5. Her smile makes me smile too no matter how sad or tired or grumpy I may be in that moment.

6. She makes the house feel full, even though you hardly know she's there. (The words of my mom, who got it exactly right).

I could go on and on about how much I like my sister, but you get the idea. She's pretty great. But there's just one teeny little eensie weensie thing about her that baffles me completely... she's a PICKY EATER. I mean, she doesn't like onions (including anything that once touched an onion). Or cooked tomatoes. Or pepper. Or flecks of green. Or anything spicy. Or any one flavour that touches another flavour. Or any meat on the bone. How we came from the same household blows my fragile mind. Mom, was Katie adopted?

The only time I find her picky eating endearing is when there are lobsters involved. No sweat, kid, I’ll make you a PB & J or buttered noodles, and I will happily take care of that lobster for you...

Actually we have a pretty good arrangement, Katie and I. She handles the lobsters while they are still frisky and clawing, then I take care of them when they are on a plate dripping with lemon butter. Teamwork, hoorah!

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Katie is obviously unaware of the fact that this lobster knows what we plan to do with him, and is just waiting for the right moment to pinch off her cute little lips with his vicious and razor-sharp (yet delicious) claws.

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Those flimsy rubber bands don’t fool me. I want to see steel handcuffs on these puppies before I go in for a smooch.

How to cook a lobster

  • Atlantic lobsters, approximately 1 1/2 lbs per person

  • the biggest pot you can find

  • salt

  • butter, approximately 1/4 cup per person

  • lemon juice

The method is quite simple, once you emotionally overcome the thrashing claws and googly eyes. You need a great big stockpot and enough salt to make the water taste like the ocean. My stepdad also recommends simply filling the pot with seawater, but that could be inconvenient for some. The next part is important - the water needs to be at a rolling boil. We want quick and relatively painless, not slow heat stroke. Put as many lobsters in the pot that will fit, submerged completely, without bringing the water temperature down from a boil. Cover and cook for 11 - 12 minutes at a boil. Remove with tongs and let cool, or serve hot. Warm butter on the stove or in the microwave. Stir in about 1 T lemon juice per 1/4 cup of butter. Adjust to taste.

Lobster-boiling facial expression optional, but recommended.

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It was my full intention to give you step-by-step instructions on dismantling and consuming a lobster, Maritime-Canadian style. However, one (succulent, juicy, briney, sweet) bite in, and my good intentions flew over the deck rail. Besides, the method doesn’t really matter. Crack/hammer/stomp your way in, dip in warm butter, and consume with gleeful abandon; preferably at an outdoor table, with family and friends and some Alpine or Moosehead beer. Do not wear fancy pants clothes unless you want them adorned with butter and lobster bits.

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