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OTHER ITA SITES:
From Scavengers of the Sea to… Delicacy
DID YOU KNOW in the 1800’s lobster was known as a “poor mans food”? Poor colonial families, prisoners, servants and children often ate lobster because of its huge abundance and easy accessibility. Yes, it is hard to imagine, but there was a time when this seafood delicacy was embarrassing to eat and often shunned upon. You see, in the 1800’s people with money could afford healthy meat such as cattle and beef, but for people living along the coast, lobster and other seafood were seen as a cheap, attainable way to feed the mouths of their hungry families. Instead of throwing away lobster shells with the rest of their trash, colonial families dug holes in their backyard to dispose of the lobster shells in hopes that no one would notice last night’s meal.
Not only was lobster used for a poor family’s dinner, but for fish bait and fertilizer for Native American crops. Lobster was so plentiful that they could pile up to 2 feet high on the shores of Plymouth where people would gather them by hand. These were not 2-pound lobsters we are familiar with today, these lobsters could weigh up to 40 pounds and measure about 4 feet in length. They would crawl out the ocean’s waves onto the shore and lay there upon the thousands. Can you imagine if this was the case today? It would be impossible to find a space on the beach!
Needless to say, the degrading lobster nicknames like, “Poor Man’s Chicken” and “Scavengers of the Sea” did not last long. In the 1850’s lobster trap fishing became a profession where men would go out and hunt for these scorpion related species in boats that circulated salt water to keep their lobsters alive and by 1885 the lobster industry was thriving and selling for 10-12 cents a pound. Now, everyone from New York to Chicago was enjoying Maine lobsters and expensive restaurants were using them in their pies and sauces.
Today, lobster is one of the most expensive items on the menu and is not cheap to buy in markets either. Now, branded as a delicacy, lobster is featured all over the world on cooking shows and prepared in exotic assortments in world-renowned restaurants. So enjoy your “Scavenger of the Sea” or “Poor Man’s Chicken,” whatever you call it….it’s delicious!
Top 13 Things to Know about Lobsters:
1. Once lobsters catch their prey, they use the teeth in their stomachs for chewing
2. Summer and Fall are peak lobstering seasons
3. The largest lobster was found in Nova Scotia in 1977 weighing 44lbs and 4 ft long
4. Maine is the largest lobster producing state in the country
5. Lobsters “molt” or shed their shell hundreds of times before their death
6. Lobsters’ sense of smell is their greatest trait in helping them find food
7. For every 1 pound a lobster weighs, they are 5-7 years of age
8. Lobsters are most closely related to the insect family
9. Lobsters have no vocal chords
10. Humans are the main predators of lobster
11. A wild lobster will continue to grow its entire life
12. Lobsters eat other lobsters
13. In bright light, a lobster is nearly blind
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