Friday, April 22, 2005

'Lobbers!'

 Lobbers are really lobsters.  Whenever I take my daughters to the grocery store, we crowd around the lobster tank.  Partially because it is the closest we get to a zoo on any given day and partially because they are horrendously ugly and move around.  ‘Lobbers’ is the toddler appellation for such hideous beasts.

I like the taste of lobsters.  I had never tried them until I was out of college (for the last reason listed about why they are mesmerizing).  Once I did try them, I was too timid to attempt anything other than lobster bisque and lobster tails at restaurants.  For some Mother’s day while my daughter was young and we didn’t have a baby sitter, my husband and I decided on lobster and filet mignon.  He was in charge of the lobsters.  He cooked them and cleaned them and delivered me a plate with nothing but clean, white, succulent meat.

A few months later, I decided to surprise him with lobster for dinner.  The girls and I went to the store on a whim and there was a sale.  Who can resist a sale?  I got two scrawny specimens and tried to avoid touching the moving part of the bag when I put it in the cart.  The bag became a source of fear and fascination for my two little ones (and myself).  Happily, the undulating sack was placed in a thoroughly more welcome outer enclosure with, Lord love them, handles. 

While the honoree of this feast was running late, I decided to heat the water.  Still running late, I began to wonder if I should refrigerate and risk shocking the little water-roaches into a premature death.  Realizing that I would not know if they were dead or not (certainly can’t check if they’re cold), I decided that if I gently tipped the (ugh) bag over the pot, I could at least start the eventually delectable meal.  The goal was to maneuver the squirming, claw-waving denizens of the not-so-deep into an over-filled pot of roiling, scorching water without having the shiny, pock-marked shell, swiveling antennae, and feathery protrusions of the tail brand my brain forever with the intimate knowledge of their feel.  

Arms fully extended and tongs and a knife as tools (no flesh of mine was going to be within brushing distance of any lobster protuberance), I awkwardly released the bag closure.  I pinched the side of the top of the opening and lifted the sogging bottom and brought the edge of the insect’s current abode to the level of the scalding water.  The spray from the bursting bubbles stung my hands.  I tipped the bottom of the bag up and watched one lobster’s tail emerge.  The tail curled as the lobster fell faster out of the bag.  As the lobster plunged into the water, I was splashed!  I was in pain and panicked.  I moved my hands away from the pot with the bag still tilted.  Instead of the second lobster joining its brethren in the watery grave, it had a free ticket for the top of the stove.  I screamed.  My daughters ran into the kitchen to find out what happened.  

At exactly their eye level was a creature that one could have nightmares contemplating.  Its feelers wiggled and claws rotated and its legs skittered on the smooth enamel coating of the stove top.  They screamed and took shelter behind the kitchen table.  The girls displayed a mix of loathing and enthrallment as they watched the struggling creature, unable to approach and unable to stop looking.  I stood, I think, in shock.  As I watched this menace, all of the possible scenarios played out in my mental vision.  The most frightening was this lobster, like the agile Alien newborn, would suddenly find some traction and scurry off the edge of the sink and disappear under the furniture to attack again.  Even with such consequences foremost in my consideration, instead of using my hands to hurry the creature into its proper location (the boiling death), I searched around for an alternative solution.  I eventually used the pot lid like a dust pan and a wooden spoon as a prod and corralled the monstrosity onto the lid.  I felt a wave of relief wash over me as I slid the beast into the water.  

The girls went back to playing while their father arrived in time to deal with preparing the lobster meat.  We finally sat down with a properly set table and some wine.  The girls were watching TV in the living room.  As usual, only being 5 and 2, they came to visit us often during the meal.  I offered them a taste of the delectable fair.  My eldest was willing to try the food we were enjoying.  I cut a small piece of the lobster meat off and she place it in her mouth.  She seemed to enjoy it for a couple of chews and then the sides of her mouth turned down.  She got a napkin and removed the partially masticated lump.  I asked her if she didn’t like it.  Her response was ‘I’m afraid it’s going to move in my mouth’.

 

 

 

 

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