Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let Them Eat Lobster!

I am "lobstered out" for the time being at least, having been in New Brunswick on vacation and (over)indulging - lobster rolls, salad, cracked right out of the shell - in one of the Maritimes' most delicious staples. Not the cheapest dining alternative, but entirely worth it.

It wasn't always so.

Older Maritimers who have lived there for decades remember a time when lobster was significantly cheaper than bologna. The crustacean was so plentiful, the story goes, that one could snag one with a handheld hook right out of the city harbour. Bologna, on the other hand, was processed and unavailable directly from the environment, hence costing more. Trendier as well, I'd guess.

Kids felt ostracized, bored, and sated because their brown-bag lunches consisted of lobster sandwiches for days on end - "Not lobster again!" Many families were just too poor to afford anything other than what nature abundantly offered.

How times have changed!

Lobster no longer clogs the harbour. Bologna has lost its cachet as a choice of the more financially flush, in addition to being processed with heaven only knows what, together with lots of salt. We now generally think more highly of foodstuffs coming directly from nature than we do of manufactured ones. Processed food is now cheaper.

And perhaps our tastes have matured. Or perhaps they haven't entirely. After so much lobster, I could really go for a childhood favourite - bologna on white bread with corn relish!

20 comments:

Judie said...

When I was in my 20's, I spent every summer in Maine, at a farmhouse on a bluff, overlooking the Penobscot River. The fish man would come around every afternoon with the fresh catch that included lobsters. There is just nothing better on earth than lobster with drawn butter, and corn on the cob.

We are going to the Georgia coast next week, and I plan to eat lots of my second favorite seafood--Georgia wild shrimp. Fresh! Never frozen! They are just so tender and sweet that if you ever had some, you would never buy frozen shrimp again--ever!!

Florida lobsters are good, but nothing beats a Maine lobster, unless it is maybe a BC lobster!

Judie said...

Oops! You were in New Brunswick, not BC! New Brunswick is where Rod's ancestors landed when they came over from Scotland. There is a museum in Dorchester called Keillor House--That's Rod's mum's maiden name. We visited there when we toured the eastern provinces and the maritimes several years ago with our cousins from Banff. It was a wonderful trip!!

ChrisJ said...

Judie,

It always fascinates me how there are so many connections between places and people - 6 degrees must be true!

Ciss B said...

I got to experience fresh lobster on a boat off the coast of Maine many years ago, so I have to agree that when you're where the best are you have to experience it!

Sounds like you had a fabulous time even if you over-dosed on lobster! :-)

Hels said...

When I co-started the IRC channel #30plus in October 1993, there was a core of people who committed themselves to this new venture from the get-go. My closest channel friend lived in New Brunswick so Joe and I got ourselves over for a gettogether as soon as possible - July 1995.

The Canadians could not have been more hospitable - great food, great wine and organised tours of Saint John.

It must have once been a beautiful city. But by 1995 it was looking a bit sad... as if the good times had ended. Our friends expected their children to leave for better employment opportunities as soon as they got their university degrees :(

Owen Gray said...

My father grew up on the Atlantic Coast. One of my earliest memories -- I was about five years old -- was watching my uncle put a live lobster in a boiling pot.

I have to admit I've never developed a taste for lobster, perhaps because that was my first encounter with one.

Judie said...

That's what my cousin, Kevin Bacon, always says! Oops! I meant to say Garrison Keillor, who really is a cousin, but not a very nice one, I'm afraid. His sister and mother are nice, though.

Pearl said...

I remember bologna being a real treat but I've never had lobster. both are probably bad for heart-health unless countered with some red wine, eh?

Pearl said...

is my site still down? it looks up from here but that's no telling. is http://www.pagehalffull.com/eatenup inaccessible too?

ChrisJ said...

Christi,

We can get it here in BC (from there), but it just isn't the same.

ChrisJ said...

Hels,

Yes, Saint John is a little frayed around the edges, but somewhat improved since 1995. It would be interesting to compare it with other 200-yr-old port cities.

ChrisJ said...

Owen,

At five, the cooking of lobsters would be unsettling.

ChrisJ said...

Judie,

I'm disappointed about Garrison Keillor; he's very funny. Having been raised Lutheran, I always enjoyed his stuff about Lutherans and singing, and coffee, etc.

ChrisJ said...

Pearl.

I think red wine fixes many things.

I am on Safari and had hubby try Firefox and Safari on his computer. Both worked initially, but then didn't. Must be something with your server.

It just won't load, although it appears to be trying.

Pearl said...

I've finally duplicated the problem you were seeing. It seems to be statscounter causing the crash. I'm yanking that off and seeing if that fixes.

Pearl said...

javascript error because it still refers to mybloglog which shut down. trying to weed out messy code.

P. M. Doolan said...

I wonder have you read David Foster Wallace's essay "Consider the Lobster"? Highly recommended: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/consider_the_lobster

ChrisJ said...

Paul,

Interesting piece - and he's right; the myth about the screaming when a lobster is boiled does persist.

Pearl said...

(tap, tap.) You here?

Anonymous said...

Is this it for "Soiree"? I miss it. Come back please...