Saturday, November 6, 2010


"God Gabi," Chris said on the phone this morning. "I feel like I don't even know you anymore. The sweet girl I knew in college would never do something like this."

"I know. I can hardly believe it myself."

"I just had no idea you were a..."

"A what?" I whispered.

"A killer. I had no idea you were a cold-blooded killer."

Neither did I...until I viciously murdered two enormous lobsters on my kitchen table on Thursday morning.

It was in the name of love...of food. Visions of melted butter and lemon danced in my head from the moment I heard from on Wednesday afternoon that I would be receiving two huge, fresh live lobsters shipped directly from Maine to my doorstep the following morning. I fantasized about the glorious decadence that would surely take place in my kitchen as I turned out lobster rolls, lobster ravioli and grilled fresh lobster tails. Somehow, though, I neglected to consider the fact that the lobsters would be arriving very much alive, packed in a seaweed-filled cooler and that I would have to be the one to end their decidedly doomed lives.

At 8 AM, on Thursday morning, FedEx delivered my lobsters. I carried the huge cardboard box from my front door to my tiny kitchen and set it down on the kitchen table. I cut through the packing tape, opened the box's flaps, removed the cooler's lid and saw nothing more than a mass of wet seaweed covered with the front page of a back issue of The Boston Globe. The article facing up said something about fugitives, but I couldn't quite read it so I peered closer to get a better look. Just as I had read the article's full title, the newspaper twitched.

Then I remembered: these lobsters were alive and, if I wanted my aforementioned culinary dreams to come true, I was going to have to kill them.

Maybe, I thought to myself, I could let them go free. I could bring the box to the playground at Dolores Park and set them free in the sand...but then I thought about the possibility of the young children who play there encountering a couple of two-pound hardshell lobsters snapping away, and realized that I was going to have to man up.

I had read that the most humane way to end a lobster's life is to plunge the tip of a chef's knife straight down right behind the lobster's eyes, severing its spinal cord. And so I picked up my knife and used it to gingerly push the newspaper and seaweed aside, revealing my prey. I held my knife above them, motionless. Lobster #1 stared up at me, daring me to move. I stared back, feeling the lump in the back of my throat enlarge.

I said a quick prayer, thanking the lobster for giving me its life and promising to dunk it only in the best organic lemons and sustainably-produced melted butter. It glared back at me (this was not the best time to learn that lobsters, are in fact, capable of eye contact), with its beady raised eyes, surely thinking, "You don't have it in you, bitch."

OK, I thought, time to do it. I swung my knife, and missed. I screamed, mostly out of horror that I had just swung a knife at a living creature. At this point, Lobster #1 started to realize what was going down (strangely, Lobster #2 stood idly by, unfazed by the fate of its friend), and burrowed down further in surrounding seaweed. This pissed me off.

"OK, fucker," I said aloud. "It's over." I swung again, this time plunging straight through its eyes, splitting its head open. Brown and white guts spewed out, hitting my cheek and hair. Simultaneously relieved and horrified, I wiped my face with the back of my hand.

And somehow, the thing kept moving. Its tail thrashed, casting more lobster guts onto my face.

"Die!" I shrieked. "Why won't you die?!" I swung again, this time plunging the knife through its hard shell and into its would-be neck. I hacked and hacked. Finally, it was over.

I stood, covered in crustacean innards, breathing hard and staring at my lifeless victim. I figured I had better kill the other one before I had the opportunity to feel any guiltier and lose my nerve. This time, one swift jab between the eyes was enough and Lobster #2 went down with minimal resistance or gut-spurting.

After collecting myself for a moment, it was time for them to cook. I dropped them into boiling water and let them steam for five minutes, which gave me time to wash my face and take the evidence out to the compost and recycling.

The resulting cooked lobsters were gorgeous (though slightly beheaded) and, of course, absolutely delicious. The fun continues in my kitchen as I dream up new and interesting dishes out of my freshly-harvested lobster meat.

At night my dreams are haunted by angry, revenge-seeking lobsters, but my days are filled with bisque and risotto, which makes it completely worth it.

Just call me the Dexter of seafood.


Unknown said...

Gabi, about 25 years ago one of the smartest people I know showed me how to hypnotize a lobster before you put it in the pot of boiling water. Then no scratching of the pot nor other lobsters getting wind of what's goingn on. I didn't believe him when he claimed to be able to do this but it really and actually works. The lobster actually goes to sleep. I also use this soothing method on one of my kids to calm her when she can't sleep; have since she was a little little girl. It has to do with calming the lobster or human brain. I'll show you next time I see you. I don't eat tref anymore but happy to help you do this more peacefully!

Jessica Pollack said...

You are hilarious! I loved reading this post. I'm currently doing research for my 25 page paper due at the end of the semester and I'm writing about the architecture of the kitchen. I guess reading your blog isn't too off topic! :-P

The Passenger said...

So I'm betting we wont be seeing a new set of recipes for fresh turkey in the near future, one type of animal a year is probably enough. ;)