Brief History Of Lobster

In case you didn’t know, lobsters themselves, date back to the Jurassic period. Up until the 1800s they were considered a rather low-brow choice for a meal, that has since changed vastly in the years since, largely due to how much smaller the population of them is now as opposed to back then. Now let me start off by saying I don’t really enjoy eating lobster. Maine Lobster is one of the oldest continuously operated industries in North America, with the first documented catch dating back to English settlers in the 1600s. In modern times it is considered a delicacy, something to be enjoyed in fancy restaurants over expensive wine and classy outfits. Here in Maine, the joy that lobster brings is for everyone. If your family harks from the local area, it’s likely to be part of your own personal history, a way that your family has made money and has survived to create you. It’s a rite of passage, though one that tastes just as incredible as its history. Now travel with me back in time to June 18, 2010, to the Utah state prison. Moments ago Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by a firing squad, his request for a last meal a lobster tail. Lobster is the most requested last meal for death row inmates. The fucking irony. Lobsters would wash up on beaches by the thousands, this forced lawmakers to put a legal limit on how frequently lobster was served to prisoners as it was seen as cruel and unusual. So how did these men, who were executed by the state, allow themselves to be tricked back into using their last meal on earth for something that was once looked upon as nothing more than shit. 

Picture higher class white folks, sitting on a train out west to further the theft of Native land, engorging themselves on lobster. It’s worth mentioning that this was canned lobster, this period of time marked the start of seafood processing on the east coast. The reason lobster is so expensive today isn’t just because of some rich influencers from the 1800s. Nah, it’s a bitch to transport. One of the first things to happen in lobstering was the use of upgraded boats equipped with live wells of cold ocean water to hold the lobsters alive. When lobsters die they go bad incredibly quickly. When cooked properly, the meat lasts longer and is easy to make into a wide variety of dishes.

Jump ahead in time, the Civil War comes along and people in the south are starving, while the union is fattening themselves on lobster in a can direct from Maine coast. These rich people never experienced the horrors of war or were forcibly fed lobster (reminds me of my childhood). This meant they loved this new and unique treat they discovered whilst on the frontier. This brings me around to the start of tourism in Maine. Maine has an economy that is almost fully funded due to tourism. Similar to many other locations, the COVID 19 pandemic has greatly hurt the state of Maine. Now more than ever, we need tourists to keep visiting to keep us afloat, and our precious lobsters are undoubtedly the largest draw that  can help ensure Maine continues to stay afloat. However, jobs within the tourism industry are currently in a high risk position, since a large portion of jobs in Maine are tourism based, the case numbers continue to skyrocket. It feels like any way you cut it, we as Mainers, lose. Let me mimic the common sentiment that  most people on vacation anywhere during a pandemic can go fuck themselves. There is a divide in Maine. There’s the image that Maine puts on for people on vacation and what really goes on for the locals. Mainers are well aware of this strange Truman Show-esque façade that people enter when they come here for vacation. This is all my way of saying, “Please come visit Maine. You will love it, we make sure of that.”

Maine lobster is the cream of the crop, over the shit they pull out of Canada and Massachusetts. How might you ask? If you turn on any TV, you will notice that the world is dying because we are sucking it dry for its resources. Many of these resources are renewable, but that comes with a responsibility, to ensure that we do not abuse the privilege of gathering these resources. Maine has only 4,600 lobster boats that’s only 4,600 different captains. Lobstering in Maine isn’t done by a large corporation, it’s done by locals who respect the environment, who respect the lobster. Lobstering on this level is not easy by any means, it's hellish. 

The lobster itself can be cooked in a vast variety of ways, it can be baked, broiled, stir-fried, sautéed, grilled or even microwaved, though prefer boiling. It is of the utmost importance that no matter how you decide to cook it, you make sure it is alive or freshly killed. In fact, this is why in many seafood restaurants, right by the entrance, you’ll see everyone tapping that giant tank full of live lobsters. There is only one type of lobster, and it’s fresh lobster. Once the lobster itself is cooked, the brownish green of its shell will turn a scarlet red. The boiling suppresses its pigments, leaving us with the iconic red of the lobster – an image that has been recreated in illustration, branding, film and art for years, and now reflected on the clothing you see on this website, except we put our own allure to it.

Lobster is not just that strange insect-like animal that crawls around the seafloor. No, it is far more than that. It is a dish, a history, a culture, an icon, a LEGACY. It is anything you want it to be. And, above all else, it is delicious.