Every Mainer knows how to cook and eat lobster, right? Well, I wasn’t sure how deft my daughter was at either and I see a couple of reasons for that, neither of which has anything to do with how often she has eaten lobster but more to do with her heritage and the steady march of time.
Georgia was born in Maine, her father and I both born here, and my family goes back to before Maine was a state. However, her paternal grandparents were born in Michigan. That’s right, Mainely speaking; Georgia is technically “from away”. Second, we raised her forty miles from the coast. She visited her grandparents in Prospect Harbor but it wasn’t the same as living there, especially not like it was back in the day. When we had lobsters growing up (i.e. when company was coming), my dad would build a fire on the shore and throw the blackened pot on it with some salt water, seaweed and the lobsters. We weren’t trying to be scenic, it was the way everyone did it; you never cooked lobsters in the house, it was too messy. I’ll accept partial blame for her lack of “Mainer-ism”. After all, I am pretty much accent-free. I do use proper Maine nomenclature but, when trying to sound like I’m from my birthplace, it’s worse than a California actor on Murder She Wrote. During the summer, when I am out enjoying my state with a million or so people “from away”, I get asked, “Where are you from?” That makes me wicked ugly. I think the downeast accent, along with cooking lobster on the shore, should be part of the Common Core Standards for Maine schools. It is shameful that some of our Maine children (in particular those with questionable birthrights) don’t know how to be real Mainers. So, for those of you out there with Maine driver’s licenses that may be a little embarrassed by your own Mainer-ism, let Georgia help demonstrate, with empathy, how to enjoy the Maine shedder.
How to Cook Shedders when You Don’t Live on the Coast
About 6 shedders (1-1/8 lbs. each)
A big pot with a lid
A few inches of water
Sides: melted butter, salt, cider vinegar, lemon wedges
NO TOOLS NECESSARY!
Seves 3 or 2 big eaters and maybe some left for a lobster roll!
To steam or to boil? Steam. But add enough water so if you have more than two lobsters deep in the pot that the steam actually is hot enough to cook the lobster. Most pots don’t have a strong lid and steam escapes so those lobsters sitting on the top don’t get cooked as fast as those on the bottom. I like to have enough water so I can, and this is going to sound gross, dip their heads in for a few seconds before layering them in the pot.
Bring the water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt and put in the lobsters.
I was always told to check for doneness by yanking on an antennae and that is what I still do. For small (1-1/8) shedders, it should only take 10 – 12 minutes to cook them.
Drain or remove from pot to a platter. Wash the pot out immediately – it hardens on like cement if you don’t!
Eat, using the video as a guide. My mom used to like a little cider vinegar in her butter – and she was as Maine as one can get!