We went grocery shopping today. Outside the center in the big supermarket with the carts with four moving wheels instead of two like at home – making it extremely difficult not to drift around corners. It was crowded but not upsetting, and we went through the fruits and vegetables and the dairy, grabbing what was in season and what I hadn’t gotten from the fruit vendor down the street this morning. As we passed the seafood section of the market, however, I saw it.
The red shape had been something of a staple in my life from the time I was born. Beach decorations, menu items, huge wooden cutouts with a hole cutout (where the anatomical mouth should be for some reason) to take summer MAINE pictures. Lollipops, dog collars, stuffed animals, restaurant decor, t-shirt prints, and of course, the subject of my summer employment years ago. On the shelf squished between the fish, was one red lobster, already cooked.
It was thrown into styrofoam, rolled in plastic wrap, and slapped with a 20% off sticker. Before that, it was probably caught somewhere off the coast of the other side of the ocean, packed into seaweed and taped into a box to ship across the sky. Lobsters like these certainly aren’t in the Mediterranean (too warm) and the others that are close don’t have claws like ours off the coast of New England). I leaned in to read the label. It was bigger than most that I had seen here, at just over a pound (I calculated that for you guys from kilos – you’re welcome). My Mum and I had just talked about the price for this summer for the fourth. In Maine, it was 10 something a pound and I was outraged. Last summer the special was $5.99. But this little lobster, cooked apparently yesterday, was €21.42 which is, with today’s exchange rate, is $24.14. For one lobster. Cooked yesterday. I wanted to cry.
Rami saw me looking at it. He knows my love for the crustacean. He liked it too, until the first time he saw me deshell one.
“Oh! Do you want it?!” He asked sincerely.
No, no. Never ever in my life would I ever want that lobster, and until he gets to have one on a beach down the cape, or cook them in a big pot by the lake in Maine, or the bay in NH, or honestly anywhere in New England – when they were pulled right from the water and thrown into the pot, when the butter melts the meat of the claws to perfection and there’s a whole fat stack of steamers to go with it, when it’s paired with a Sam Adams and you’re down in Quincy Market and get it with a bowl of chowda, until he can have one like that, until then, it seems like the shrink-wrapped day-old lobster would do it. But it’s the same as finding a truffle from Alba in New England. Some things from home just aren’t going to be the same.
Yes, I always want lobsters, but they have to be local, and definitely not for 25 dollars a pound.