The Hot Tub of Death

COOKING ADVENTURE 38 – Cooking Co-Op #2: Boiled Lobster

Hi. My name is Gary.

Yes, folks. That horrific day has finally come where I’ve actually cooked a lobster. Now I know what you’re thinking. Well… maybe I don’t know exactly what you’re thinking but for a few of you, it will be along the lines of “So what? No big deal.” And for some of you that don’t eat seafood, you’re trying to comprehend how this thing could be seen as delicious. I mean, yes, he is kind of staring into your soul… and I, against better judgement, named the lobsters Gary and Barry (both in honor of characters in recent playthroughs that HarshlyCritical has done). But some of you might not have also realized that these guys were alive beforehand… yup. I killed the lobsters. And I did it using the hot tub of death.

I had been planning this occasion for several months. I’d promised my friend, Sean, that when he came up to visit, we would cook lobsters for my cooking adventure that week. Little did I realize that it was going to be such an ordeal. Why? I’ll tell you exactly why. I am an animal lover. That means that before that fateful Friday night, the only creatures I’d killed on purpose were spiders and maybe a few earwigs. But I’d certainly never killed anything as big as a lobster and quite frankly, didn’t want to. But, that being said, I am an extreme lover of eating lobster. It was always a family tradition of mine to go to my Grandma’s house in the summer and have a lobster dinner. After all, we live in Maine. If there are only a few things that people associate with Mainers, it’s moose, pine trees, and lobster.

Now, as can be expected, cooking a lobster is one of the easiest parts of this recipe. Choosing the specific lobsters for the deed, in this case, Gary and Barry, is something a bit more fine-tuned. On Friday, Sean and I went to Beth’s Farm Market to find something for dinner Saturday night. As we picked up a bevy of root veggies, squash, corn, and a Lebanese zucchini (which I’d never heard of), Sean noticed that there was a tank of lobsters at the back. We decided it would just be a smart move to pick them up while we were there. The lady at the counter came with me to the back, snagged her net, and scooped it down into the water. The first one she picked up with the net had some moxie. It flipped its tail up and spread its claws out, trying to attack her but in vain (its claws were already banded). The next one she picked up just sat in the net like a slug. Apparently, lobsters are more tasty when they have a little bit of energy, which makes me sad just to think about it. After declaring that this lobster didn’t have enough spunk, she tossed it back into the tank and scooped up another. With a little coaxing, this one flipped its tail up and so she added it to the bag with the other.

After a long twisted car ride home where I was sure the lobsters were going to crawl under my seat and pinch my ankles, we arrived back at the apartment. We placed them in a giant pot with a hunk of wet newspaper over them and put them into the fridge for the next few hours. We spent the rest of the day making apple pie with the apples we’d picked that morning. drinking tea, and watched some more of The Walking Dead, a show that I’ve now hooked him on. HA! Finally, the time came for my cooking chops to be tested. We pulled the lobsters out of the fridge, pulled them out of the pot, and put them in the sink. One of them was still spunkier than the other and didn’t look happy at all. What’s worse was that by this time, I’d already named them in my head. The names Gary and Barry are automatic for me. Whenever I see two animals together regardless of what gender they are, they are always Gary and Barry in my mind. I know it’s a bad idea to name the food you’re about to eat… you get attached. Believe me, I wasn’t attached. Naming things is a writerly hobby of mine.

While Gary and Barry hung out in the sink, Sean filled the pot with water and put it on the burner to heat to a rapid boil. Here, I consulted my Kindle for cooking directions. It is, of course, very straight-forward. You heat the water to a boil and make sure that it is very, VERY salty, so that it tastes like the ocean a little more. I poured a generous helping of salt into the pot and waited for the sucker to come to a boil. The time came almost too quickly and I was suddenly faced with the Hot Tub of Death, a tureen of gleaming silver with broiling water, bubbling and sizzling as if asking for a sacrificial offering. I held Gary (the more feisty of the two), said a quick goodbye, and plunged him head-first into the pot. At which point I dropped him because I was shrieking. While Sean made sure that he was completely submerged, I grabbed and Barry and repeated the awful move, also dropping him. Then, I stood back as the lid went over the top. In as little as a few seconds, it was all over and I was as relieved as I was terrified.

Now, I know that some of you out there are probably wondering why it takes two people to boil lobster considering how easy it seems. Well, folks, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. I was glad to have someone there to put the lid over them for me, and to encourage me as I… put the lobsters into the hot tub.

After about ten minutes, the lobsters came out with a set of impromptu tongs (actually two wooden spatulas). Then they sat for another five minutes in order to let the juices settle and then with our set of lobster crackers that we scoured Hannaford for earlier and little dishes of melted butter, we dug in. The lobsters ended up being soft shell, which I was really thankful for. Hard shell lobsters can be a pain in the neck and I’ve cut myself on lobster shells before while trying to break them. We enjoyed our meal as we watched Death at a Funeral (the British version), probably one of the funniest movies ever made. It was one of the few times I had lobster this season because of my ulcer and though I’m pretty sure it will be the last time this year, I’m glad that I finally followed in my family’s footsteps and learned how to cook lobster myself.

Next week (this upcoming Thursday), I’ll be making a fall favorite, Apple Crisp! After that, we’ll delve into the Halloween themed recipes! Stay tuned!



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