It is a delicacy that can cause grown men and women to tie ridiculous
plastic bibs around their necks in anticipation of the savory, sometimes
splashy, feast ahead.
The rich, sweet taste of lobster, with its sea-salty tang, is like
Hard to believe they were considered by early New England colonists
to be an undesirable food.
At one time, Massachusetts passed a law forbidding the cruel and
unusual punishment of serving a lobster dinner to prisoners more
than twice a week.
Now one of the most popular seafoods, the U.S. lobster fishery generates
roughly $300 million a year.
Eating a boiled or steamed whole lobster "in the rough,"
armed with claw crackers, pick and lots of napkins, is a rite of
passage for locals and visitors alike.
Lobster rolls are easier eating, with meat and mayo in a hot dog
Lobster salad is lighter fare. Lobster chowder and bisque are favorites
for cool days.
Luscious lobster pies may be made from secret recipes handed down
for generations. (Cooked in single serving dishes, they don't have
a real pie crust, usually just breading or crumbs.)
Throw caution to the wind and try fried lobster -- you can log more
miles on the treadmill later.
Crustacean cravings can be satisfied at any number of flip flop
and family-friendly places in the Seacoast. The ambience is beachy
and casual, and the location never far from ocean breezes.
"Live lobsters," say the signs. Salivary glands kick into
Driving by is unthinkable.
Pick your own takes on a new meaning as you lean over the tank and
peer into the depths at a tussle of lobsters pulled from local waters.
A 1½ pound lobster will cost you about $8 to $12 per pound
While your lobster is being prepared, find a picnic table under
an umbrella, sip an iced tea or cold beer, admire the lobster trap
and buoy décor, and consider a few facts about Homarus americanus:
• The Maine, or American, lobster is a bottom-dwelling marine
crustacean found on the continental shelf from the mid-Atlantic
• Lobsters mature in five to eight years; they can live almost
• Most lobsters weigh a pound to a pound-and-a-half when caught.
The largest ever landed weighed almost 45 pounds.
• A 1 pound lobster is known as a chicken. Female lobsters
are called hens.
• Fresh lobster meat, before butter or other additions, is
90 calories per 100 grams, high in protein and low in fat.
According to Paula Wood, an employee at Brown's Lobster Pound in
Seabrook, it's a myth that the big ones don't taste as good. She
shared a 16-pounder with family members for her birthday.
"The claws when you open them slice like steak," she said.
Dwight Souther is a lobsterman whose family has fished the New Hampshire
Seacoast since 1650. He operates the 35-foot Lady Skye out of Seabrook,
hauling 150 to 200 pounds of lobster per day, two or three days
A pound per trap is an average haul in New Hampshire waters, he
Early to midsummer prices for lobster can be a little high, according
to Souther, because that's when lobsters stop eating, bury in the
sand, and shed their shells, so they're harder to find.
In August, they're back and they're hungry.
If you get a watery lobster with less meat than it looks like it
should have, it is because the lobster has a new shell and has just
started eating again and not quite filled out yet.
Souther said he thinks the best time to get lobster is the first
spring run, when they come in from winter's deeper waters, around
March or April.