1) Do no research at all and purchase a $23 lobster on a whim.
I’m a sucker for movies and butter.
You know that scene in Julie and Julia where Julie makes Lobster Thermadour and every one says, “yum!”? Well…it looked easy enough…
Child #3 and I were at the Fancy Store. He loves looking at the lobsters, and while he was pointing and saying, “Hi, Mr. Wobster!” Mr. Wobster showed a great deal of energy and pep. I vaguely remembered Anthony Bourdain or some other angry chef saying that when choosing a live lobster, one should choose a lively specimen.
I pointed, the fish-monger scooped and weighed, and wha-la! We were the proud owners of a lobster.
We named him Henry.
#3 held Henry in his box all the way home. #3 did not believe me when I said we were going to cook him and eat him. #3 insisted that Henry live in our back yard.
2) Randomly decide on a recipe.
These are all the recipes for lobster I could find in my library of cook books. I chose Julia’s recipe/instructions because she offered me the option of slicing into a dead Henry vs a still-squirming/looking at me/making me feel guilty Henry.
(side note: in case of zombie apocalypse, I’m grabbing my guns, ammo, machete, and LaRousse’s Gastronomique. It contains recipes for calve’s heads and spleen soup and all sorts of gross things that we’ll probably be forced to live on while the Zeds wander. At least we’ll nosh in style. Also, that book weighs as much as The Coyote’s anvil and can be used as a weapon if necessary.)
I boiled the water. The kids ooh’d and aah’d.
As I lifted Henry from his Box of Doom, #3 finally believed me. He stuck his bottom lip out, looked at me with puppy-dog sadness/betrayal, and whispered, “Henry thinks you’re mean.”
3) Help children #’s 1 and 2 with their homework and forget the $23 lobster is boiling his little eyes out.
When I finally remembered Henry in his hot-tub, half an hour had passed. This is, as you can guess, far too long to cook a lobster intended for human enjoyment.
Henry was pissed.
Revenge would be his, however, because after he cooled off enough to touch him, I really had no idea at all what to do with him. He sat on my cutting board, mocking me for another twenty minutes. I’d poke him with a tentative finger. I’d tug on his antennae.
Mostly I just stared at him, my hands behind my back, head cocked in the manner of a cat regarding a watermelon.
4) Destroy the lobster.
Lobsters look like ginormous cock-roaches. I didn’t know this until the other day.
I paid $23 for a foot-ball sized cockroach. Not my finest hour.
I twisted Henry’s tail off first because I knew that the tail was at least a civilized thing to eat. I had clarified butter on stand-by and was sort of looking forward to flipping Red Lobster a self-righteous bird.
Did you know that lobsters have a spinal chord and that it turns a lovely sunset pink-orange when cooked? Did you know that lobsters can poop on you from beyond the grave?
The kids all stood in horror. Not because of the guts or smell or dead animal… but because of the “get it OFF me!” dance I did when Henry’s guts and water and poop squished up onto my shirt.
…where’s Dexter when I need him?…
Eventually, I freed the tail and claw meat and halved Henry’s upper body. Gross. Sand. Brains. Water. Lobster smell.
I went ahead and made the proper sauce with leeks and garlic and butter and pepper and mushrooms. I even tasted a bit of the meat with the sauce. I relished the flavor. Mostly I relished the flavor because I had no choice; it took me years to successfully masticate the rubbery meat into something I could swallow.
Children #’s 1 and 2 had long-since fled the scene, but child #3 remained. I asked him if he wanted a bite.
“No, Mom,” he said. “We’re not supposed to eat our friends. It’s bad manners.”