On Sunday Sandy and I took advantage of Shop Rite’s $6.99 a pound lobster sale. Whenever we see lobsters on sale, we usally act! I steam them in beer, throw in some corn on the husk… sometimes I add some sausages, clams and chicken thighs. Early on I discovered that Sandy loved lobsters as much as I do. Back then we had ordered them at Carmen Anthony’s Fish House in Woodbury. And after that experience I swore that I would never order lobster at a restaurant with Sandy again!
Watching Sandy eat lobster was an eye popping experience. She attacks the creature with a gusto and sense of purpose that can’t be surpassed! The tail and claws, for most folks are the highlight, but for Sandy just a secondary enjoyment! Her focus is on everything else! The little feelers and anything that is attached to the carapace! She rips, breaks apart, crunches and chews every last morsel. And when she is done, her plate looks like Dresden after the Allies had fire bombed it!
I’m well used to seeing her prey on a lobster carcass, no different than a vulture picking its way thru a dead zebra on the Serengeti. In our home? Fine! At a restaurant? I don’t think so!
Moving on… as previously noted, no one can surpass Sandy in the “gusto and sense of purpose” in tucking into a lobster. But there was her equal: Mom.
Mom loved lobster to beat none. But she employed an “attack” strategy different from Sandy. How should I say it? Mom was more fastidious. The ultimate tactician. She approached a cooked crustacean like she was a paleontologist unearthing the fossil remains of a triceratops. Mom was quiet when she operated on a lobster. How should I say it? She was “taking care of biz.” As much as the family loved lobster, I can recall having it only a handful of times at 25 Alston Ave.
For me, lobster and its consumption was intertwined with Race Brook. And decades later, I haven’t had better. Broiled, with superb buttery bread crumb stuffing — the small feeler legs placed on top — and my gosh, how good was that! A squeeze of lemon and time to pick up your lobster fork! Mom may have added a word or two to conversation during dinner, but I am sure that gabbing would have been second fiddle to the task at hand. She was able to keep pace with the rest of the table, but when all was said and done… and Norman busied himself to clear our table, Mom’s lobster looked like a museum piece! The carcass perfectly in place, just missing everything inside! Whistle clean… like an apartment ready for a new tenant.
Such is the beauty of memory. Sandy and I have enjoyed lobsters many, many times. And how lucky am I? Sandy and I trade carcasses for tails and claws! She takes my carcass and I take her tail and claws! Talk about living on “Easy Street”! And each time I dip a mouthful to tail meat into melted butter, I think of Mom. I think of Mom and her finished lobster. She needed no applause, she was a “lobster pro” in every way, much the way my Sandy is.