Saturday, July 23, 2011

Maine-ly Lobster

It has a face only a mother could love -- the rest of us love it for other reasons. And the best place in the world to eat lobster is on the coast of Maine. Our press group had ample opportunities to try this indigenous delicacy and we got a great lesson in lobster lore from Buddy Hall, owner of Anglers in Searsport, Maine.

Here Buddy is giving us a tutorial in lobster sexing. I promise I will never be trying it out myself -- all those creepy claws and legs will keep the lobster's secrets secret. Female lobsters can carry their eggs up to two years -- the last half of the time they are glued to the underside of her tail. When a lobsterfisherperson (yes, there are lobsterwomen) catches a female with eggs, he cuts a notch in her tail and tosses her back so if she gets caught again, she will be released. That keeps the population going.

In young lobsters, the claws are about the same size but as the animal grows, they differentiate into the larger crusher claw and smaller pincher claw.

The lobster's face is interesting. I could identify the eyes easily enough but I'm not sure I could find the mouth. Buddy did -- and, wh0 knew -- lobsters have teeth!

Here's a sampling of lobster dishes we tried: lobster salad,

the ubiquitous lobster roll,

and the whole lobster. I deliberately chose a small lobster (notice the claws) because I discovered that, with my braces, lobster takes a lot more chewing than without them. I managed to get through both claws and about 1/3 of the tail about the same time everyone else at the table was finishing dessert!

This is part of the group the night we ate at Weathervane in Belfast. Are we having fun yet? You bet!

Tip to tourists: in choosing a place to eat lobster, look for one that has a pound. This is a tank that circulates sea water around the lobsters. Buddy also told us you could tell how long a lobster had been held in a tank because they start to bite off one anothers' antennae. Avoid the stumpy antennae!

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