Guess what we’re having for dinner tonight? FRESH lobster! And you know what fresh means? It means live. It means you have to prepare them yourself while they’re still moving. When you bring them home and put them in the sink, they’re still moving. THEY’RE MOVING! My aunt tried to prepare the lobsters but she got a little squeamish because they were so “fresh.” So she enlisted the help of my grandma. I watched my grandma as she handled them like it was nothing. She first poked a hole in their tales to let out the lobster juices (if you don’t know what I mean by that, ask me). Then she proceeded to rip off the shells from the head, and removed all the insides. I couldn’t just watch. I had to try it for myself. I asked if I could help. She ripped off the shell of one lobster and handed it to me and told me to clean it out. I couldn’t stay quiet. I was “ewwing and uugghh-ing” the whole time. If you don’t know, I’m not very fond of touching animals, except maybe for dogs. After cleaning it, I asked if I could try to rip off the shell. It looked so easy when my grandma was doing it. I gingerly held the lobsters with my fingertips and attempted to dismantle it’s shell. But I just couldn’t do it while it was moving. I could feel the lobster move, and I knew that once I removed the shell, the lobster would no longer be moving. I held the life of the lobster in my hands and determined when the life would stop. I tried ripping off the shell, but my hands felt so light and limp. I just couldn’t do it. Yes, call me a wimp, but I had to hand over the lobster to my grandmother, at which point she just ripped it off and handed it back to me. I scooped out all the insides and cleaned it, and gave it back to her. There was just something about taking a living creature into your hands, and controlling its fate. I couldn’t handle that power.
I asked how my grandmother learned all this and how she could do this without being grossed out. She said that in the village, you had no choice. Of course they didn’t have lobsters, but they prepared all their food, literally, from scratch. I have a feeling the tradition family cooking might be lost somewhere between her generation and mine. At least I attempted to learn. How different it is in this generation where we have everything cleaned, cut, and processed for you. All you have to do is know how to push a few buttons on a little box called a microwave and voila, food. Yes, we have the convenience of technology at our fingertips, but the food definitely tastes much better FRESH!