Dead Shellfish Tell No Tails

Part of what I do for a living entails doing interviews with various primary sectors: the fishery, farming, mining, and natural resources like the forestry sector. This means that I get to meet a heck of a lot of interesting people as I travel across the region, learning about industries I had no clue about in my previous prairie/western Canadian existence (especially the fishery, naturally).

When it comes to the fishery and the fish processing sector, we often get tours of fish plants after the interviews. If we're lucky, we get to bring home some souvenir foodstuffs -- once, I brought home 5 lbs of salt cod and salt pollock (some of which I still have in the freezer, if anyone's interested in some homemade fishcakes) and another time I found myself tasting cultured oysters on a raft in Maine -- all things your average prairie boy would not regularly encounter. A current assignment involves interviewing a number of people in the lobster industry, including the owner of a large lobster pound in the province.

Now I'm not a huge lobster guy, but when the boss offered to buy some lobsters for the office, I gladly accepted a couple. And, having learned about the ins and outs of the lobster fishery in the past couple of years, it felt almost educational to be bringing a couple of the less lucky little lobsters* home the other day. My wonderful wife, however, was less than enthused at the prospect of having two subletters in our refrigerator for more than a day.

I had placed them in a box with some dampened newspaper to keep them fresh (and alive) and was informed that they would be fine for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator, but I got the indication that even the cardboard box wasn't going to be enough containment for my wife's comfort. I resisted toying with her fears and emotions when she timidly, but asked for reassurance that she "wasn't going to be hearing any....scratching... when she opened the fridge door", was she? I'm told that it's pure coincidence that there were a number of vegetables piled on top of the box when I arrived home from work on Day 2.

Now, enough of the yak-yak (thanks Jason) -- let's make with the pictures:

click for the rest of the pics

(click for more Homarus Americanus goodness)

The lobster was actually quite good, though I can't help but feel that since I'm not the one who would be the most appreciative of such a delicacy, that I perhaps don't deserve to have it (especially at a bargain price), but in the spirit of enriching my palate I've promised not to turn down anything that comes along. So I enjoyed it, and look forward to what may come next.

Posted bythemikestand at 12:00 PM  

8 stepped up to the mike:

Sassy said... 2:40 PM, February 01, 2006  

Now wait a minute...if you are going to COOK them, why keep them ALIVE in your refrigerator?


themikestand said... 2:45 PM, February 01, 2006  

A good question. And one I thought I knew the answer to (and it turns out I sort of did).

From :

Have people been poisoned by eating lobsters that were allowed to die before being cooked? Is it true that a dead lobster deteriorates very rapidly? What happens when a live lobster is frozen?

Lobsters are not poisonous if they die before cooking, but cooking should not be delayed. Many lobsters sold commercially are killed and frozen before cooking. Lobsters and other crustaceans do spoil rapidly after death, which is why many buyers insist on receiving them alive. If the lobster is "headed" before or soon after death, the body meat will keep fresh longer. This is because the so-called head includes the thorax, the site of most of the viscera and gills, which spoil much more rapidly than claw or tail meat.Freezing slows deteriorate changes and harmful chemical actions that follow death.

Sassy said... 3:06 PM, February 01, 2006  

okay i think i'll be sick now. don't know why that is turning my stomach so much!

I used to like lobster!

bipolarbear said... 5:16 AM, February 02, 2006  


Give me all your lobsters. I'm too lazy to read about whether they made you sick or not.

Also, you sure like talking alot.

themikestand said... 9:29 AM, February 02, 2006  

bipolarbear: I was not ignorant to your love of lobsters when I received and cooked them. Neither was I under the illusion you liked to read "a lot".

If I hadn't put pictures in the post, might you have even known about the lobsters?

CatPants said... 1:43 PM, February 02, 2006  

I love lobsters. And yes... we do keep them alive in the fridge before we kook them too. I just wanted to say that I LOVED your comment on SassyGirl's blog in which you used the term "Blorgy". I think that's FANTASTIC, and I plan on using it sometime. :-D

candy said... 2:55 PM, February 02, 2006  

I'm a recent convert to the crustaceans, but I do enjoy me some lobster.

However, there is something absolutely neanderthal-ic about plopping a living, moving thing into a pot of boiling water, and then eating it...delicately dipped in fat made from cow milk. It's an odd custom, don't you think?

Next time, try lobster thermador. mmmmm...

Belinda said... 6:52 PM, February 08, 2006  

Um, good call not tormenting the wife. It might have been fun, but only for a moment. Then the piper would have to be paid. For a long, long time.

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