In a streak of bluish camouflage we glimpse our trusty hero, Superlobster, flying through the seas. Don’t be fooled her tiny claws, when her antennules detect the scent of trouble she rips off her shell, instantly doubling in size and rushes to aid the defenseless against robotic explorers or vicious cod.
Those who know I am not a comic-book-reading kind of person can thank The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean by Trevor Corson for this (poor attempt at a) genre crossover. This isn’t the first time I’ve dipped my reading toe into a profession or discovery I will never be a part of. I’ve never been to a rodeo, don’t want to, don’t agree with most of what a rodeo is, but reading Blacktop Cowboys: Riders on the Run for Rodeo Gold by Ty Phillips about the people who wrestle a 500 pound steer to the ground was exhilarating. I do not understand math, but thought E=mc2: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis brought elucidation to my understanding of the world around me. And Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel…sigh…a masterpiece. (Did the long titles originally attract me to this genre or did the genre fuel my love of long titles?)
Unfortunately for others this type of reading also means that I annoyingly spout lots of random facts at people for a good month. That’s a countdown for all my friends who are tired of hearing about these crustaceans. Just because I am enthralled, enraptured and enriched from these readings I understand not everyone feels the same. And that’s okay, but it won’t keep you away from the trivia wave. Each one of the unfortunate folks set adrift in these waves reminisced on their lobster eating experiences in order to stay afloat. Some of them like eating lobster — lobster ravioli, lobster shots. Most, it seems, row in my boat — it’s a lot of money to spend on something that tastes like butter.
After learning about all those little lobster lives, how they might have become extinct if only we hadn’t decimated the cod population, I feel responsible to them. I couldn’t possibly eat one of those tough little buggers. After learning about the Maine lobstermen risking their hands and lives to earn a living in a business they were born to know I feel guilty for not supporting their livelihoods. And I would totally support these small, independent businessmen if it just meant not having to eat (or purchase) a lobster. Sorry. Even after the final chapter that discusses how good lobster is for you, how it is the butter that makes it unhealthy, or that a humane way to kill an animal hasn’t been invented, I still don’t want one. Perhaps, if I were visiting Maine I would re-think this decision.
Fortunately for me flavored butter is an excellent accompaniment to an array of flavors as deep and vast as the ocean. Gross exaggeration, well, how about the size of the Gulf of Maine? With all the choices making a decision was difficult. Strawberry is an old favorite, hot chili was tempting, citrus sounded delectable, but the herbs won out. As the butter was the focus today I let myself splurge on chic European style butter 83% — though I’ve no idea what this means. But it’s twice the cost of my usual butter brand. The flavors butter complement extend all the way to the food it goes on. I suggest slathering it on a medley of mixed vegetables and some crusty bread.
The oceans are once again calm, but sure as the tides run in and out, the deep-sea evils will return. And then we will see the further adventures of Superlobster and her trusty sidekick, Kid Crawdad.
Tarragon, thyme and shallot butter
4 ounces (1 stick) salted butter, softened at room temperature
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon and thyme
1 small chopped shallot
Place all ingredients into a mini-chop and whir until well combined. Place into a mold or roll into a log and chill until ready to serve. Or place in a small bowl and when chill use a melonballer or rounded spoon to scoop out pretty little servings.