I’m indifferent to lobster meat, whether cooked or served as sashimi. It may or may not have anything to do with taking a date to a Red Lobster during my university days. She was hardly impressed and never did respond to my follow-up calls. Although I can’t be sure if it was the lobster she had an issue with or me.
Pretty sure it was me.
The opening scene of my favourite Alistair Macleod story, “Vision”, takes place on a boat just off the coast of Nova Scotia. It’s the end of a successful lobster run, the father is pleased, and his narrator-son says, “There was a time long ago when the lobsters were not thought to be so valuable.” In fact, early American colonists referred to it as “cockroaches of the sea” and “poor man’s pot”, gleefully sloughing it off to prisoners, slaves, the poor.
That it is so prized today has as much to do with its status as a “delicacy” as it does with increasing global demand and the higher costs associated with lobster fishing.
But in spite of my romantic failings and culinary disinterest, I do love the lobster for it’s sheer physical beauty and it’s bionic replacement superpower. Lobsters can regenerate virtually anything it has lost on its body. If in danger, it will even amputate a claw or leg to escape. Then just as immediately, the cells near the lost limb will rapidly divide and multiply. In no time a new appendage forms, stronger than the one it is replacing.
And so it is—the lobster’s resilience and capacity to recreate itself that makes this creature, like those of us who find a way to recover from the mildest of heartaches to the gravest of losses, so achingly beautiful.