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Quill

Have you ever (or do you ever) boil your own live lobster?

Do you cook your own live lobsters/crustaceans?   

118 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you boil live lobsters?

    • I have done it once or twice.
      17
    • I have done it many times/my family has.
      24
    • No, I have never done it myself.
      39
    • This is not a thing where I live, but I cook a different sea creature.
      4
    • This is not a thing where I live, and I have never done anything similar.
      8
    • I don't eat meat/crustaceans/things that are live when you start cooking them.
      19
    • Other
      7


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I realize this is probably not eaten everywhere, so..I don't know, maybe there is a comparable sea creature for our more exotically-located boardies.

 

Nothing hinges on this question, really, it's pure curiosity. Being in the mid-atlantic, my family steams a lot of crabs nearly every year (though I have not personally done this by myself). But I have never purchased a live lobster (also never caught one) and boiled it myself. Is this something you do, either yourself or your family? I'm curious about how difficult it is.

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The hardest part is psyching yourself up to plop it into the pot. Head first is the recommendation. I seem to recall one recipe where I had to cut it in half longwise before baking it. That was hard and I'm not sure that I was ever successful? I've blocked it out.

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I love lobster now but I have a bad memory of my aunt steaming live lobsters and could never do it myself. It wasn't until years later that I could bring myself to even try it again.

 

Funny that you posted this tonight as I'm watching Julie and Julia, and there is a funny scene where Julie cooks lobster for the first time.

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I've purchased live lobsters, but I read it was more humane to kill them before steaming, so I did it that way.

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I've purchased live lobsters, but I read it was more humane to kill them before steaming, so I did it that way.

My BIL's father does this with crabs. It's the only time I've heard of it, though.

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It is really easy but pretty horrific. You have to bungie the top down and then listen to them clattering around in the pan trying to escape until they die.

 

I won,t do it. My biologist mother, who did cancer research on rats and dissected a cat which started out alive and has no compunction about setting mouse traps did it when I was young but even she refused to do it after a bit.

 

Nan

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It is really easy but pretty horrific. You have to bungie the top down and then listen to them clattering around in the pan trying to escape until they die.

 

I won,t do it. My biologist mother, who did cancer research on rats and dissected a cat which started out alive and has no compunction about setting mouse traps did it when I was young but even she refused to do it after a bit.

 

Nan

Isnteresting.

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We have done it once or twice, and my kids liked it, but when it was on sale last week they said they don't want to do it again because it is too cruel. All three agreed.

 

We never had to bungee a pot. If you have to do that your pot is too small.

Edited by Amy in NH
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The hardest part is psyching yourself up to plop it into the pot. Head first is the recommendation. I seem to recall one recipe where I had to cut it in half longwise before baking it. That was hard and I'm not sure that I was ever successful? I've blocked it out.

Growing up my parents boiled them that way, but the steam escaping through their shells sounded like screaming. I later read that stabbing them between the eyes with a sharp knife was the best way. I tried. It didn't work out. I lacked the necessary strength, accuracy, and skill, and even when I thought I MUST have finally succeeded it kept thrashing!! 

 

Now I lack the desire to ever cook a lobster on my own.

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Lobster is very expensive where I live.  Live lobsters are available at many grocery stores, but few people buy and cook them. I don't know how many of them boil them live compared to boiling them after killing them.

I once boiled live crawdads (dozens and dozens at a time) over a camp fire here after catching them in a lake. Fewer people around here have done that than have boiled lobster. I think it would be very challenging to kill of them first because of their size and number, but suppose it could be done.

If I were inclined to eat cook my own lobster (I hate seafood, so it's not going to happen) I imagine I'd probably kill it first. 

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If I had to kill/fetch/make from scratch my own food, I would be a vegan.

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I would like to add that boiling is not the only way to prepare fresh lobster. They are delicious grilled in the shell. This involves killing them first by removing the head. In FL and the Caribbean the lobster are different - spiny and shovelnose - neither have claws.

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other- my ds has boiled alive a rock lobster ( what we call crayfish, different to what you would call a crayfish) and some poor crabs. I do not eat or cook  crustacean ( allergic) but we live right by the sea and my older boys go diving and get them.

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No.

It's cheap and plentiful here but I don't see the appeal in it at all. Even right off the boat I've never been impressed.

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Dh is a (spear)fisherman but he always kills what he catches as quickly as possible afterwards. So cook them - yes, often (him, not me), but live - never.

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If you do this, do not let your child see the lobster; said child will name the lobster and then there will be all sorts of drama. Ask me how I know.

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I've never personally done it with my own two hands, but dh has a few times.  Some cooking show taught him that a fast kill before steaming leaves the meat more tender (they don't get the chance to stiffen) but we (and by we, I mean he) haven't tested that theory yet.

 

My kids have watched their fish get gutted and filleted at our local catch and pay place, and they're fascinated by it.  My youngest particularly likes watching the heart beat for a while after it's been removed.  But none of us is willing to actually do it ourselves.  When we dream about our little homestead, it usually includes plans for taking animals away for slaughter.

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It is really easy but pretty horrific. You have to bungie the top down and then listen to them clattering around in the pan trying to escape until they die.

 

Horrific is right. I hate seeing them in those depressing tanks at the grocery store, with their little claws rubber-banded shut.  :(

 

I acknowledge that I participate in similar horrors when I eat any kind of meat, though. 

 

Interesting question, Quill.

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No. Lobsters and shellfish everywhere celebrate my shellfish allergy, plus my 40+ land hermit crabs would be horrified if I ate their relatives.

Edited by trulycrabby
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I'm so about to out myself as a "country hick".

 

I keep waffling between yes and no.  Yes, I have helped catch crawdads, I have put them in a bucket of clean water then instructed my son on the proper way (learned as a child) to live cook them but no, I've never put them in a pot myself, I don't think I could do it.  The things I've seen caught, cleaned, sometimes killed, and cooked would make most people gag.  My mother is very resourceful.

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If you do this, do not let your child see the lobster; said child will name the lobster and then there will be all sorts of drama. Ask me how I know.

:lol:  :crying: Oh I know, I was that child.

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I don't know why people are more compassionate about lobster than intelligent animals. Of all animals to be squeamish about slaughtering, a lobster shouldn't be it!
My husband slices it belly to head quickly to give it a faster death than being boiled.  I"ve also heard you can put the lobster in the freezer to stun it first.

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:lol:  :crying: Oh I know, I was that child.

 

Me too. When we visited my grandparents we would go out on their boat and pull in crab traps. Blue crabs got boiled alive. I refused to even be in the house when they did it, I'd go outside and cover my ears. 

 

It's no surprise I ended up vegetarian for about a decade. I now eat meat, but try to get humanely raised meat, and still feel somewhat guilty about it. But no lobsters will be boiled here. 

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I watched once as a relative stabbed them between the eyes to kill them before boiling, but I've never done it myself, alive or dead.

 

I can tell you that anything with a nervous system will keep moving for a short time after death - whether it's flapping chickens, smashed off spider legs, a rattlesnake you shot in your chicken coop, a lobster, or even humans who died after a long battle with cancer, movement happens.  It's just a nerve function, it doesn't mean the creature is still alive.

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If you do this, do not let your child see the lobster; said child will name the lobster and then there will be all sorts of drama. Ask me how I know.

My kid did this recently with crayfish. Then had the one named Jimmy, now cooked, on the side of his plate through the meal so he could talk to him.

 

"Mmmmm, Jimmy, your friend Bob tastes really good. I wonder what YOU taste like..."

 

Different type of drama, though.

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For lobster, a very large pot of boiling water, lobster goes in head first.

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Other

 

I've never cooked live lobster but like you, I've boiled live crabs. We used to go crabbing and would come home with Florida Blue Crabs. 

 

It's been more than 20 years though.

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My dad loves lobster so my mom would do a lobster bake maybe 2 or 3 times per summer when I was growing up.

 

I will eat lobster if it's served to me but I don't like it enough to spend the money and time on fresh lobster. Sometimes when there's a good deal on frozen lobster tails I will buy a package and serve it when my dad is visiting.

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I have never done it, probably never will. Too cruel :(

 

I don't understand this, unless you are vegetarian.

 

I mean, all fish/seafood/poultry/pigs/cattle die before we eat them So why is this way different? 

 

Now, that being said, I wouldn't do it. To me, it's sort of how I won't actually butcher our chickens. I help pluck and stuff, but won't do the moment of butchering. However, we do fish and eat what we catch. I'd help clean the fish but DH likes doing it.

 

Anyway, that's a tangent to my answer to the OP. I live in the Midwest. This is so not a thing here. 

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I don't understand this, unless you are vegetarian.

 

I mean, all fish/seafood/poultry/pigs/cattle die before we eat them So why is this way different? 

 

Now, that being said, I wouldn't do it. To me, it's sort of how I won't actually butcher our chickens. I help pluck and stuff, but won't do the moment of butchering. However, we do fish and eat what we catch. I'd help clean the fish but DH likes doing it.

 

Anyway, that's a tangent to my answer to the OP. I live in the Midwest. This is so not a thing here. 

 

Because to some people being boiled alive seems a particularly cruel death.

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I don't understand this, unless you are vegetarian.

 

I mean, all fish/seafood/poultry/pigs/cattle die before we eat them So why is this way different?

 

 

I wondered this too. I mean, honestly, the lives and deaths of all factory meat is something we'd all rather not think about (I'm not talking about humanely raised animals).

 

I guess DIY just makes it harder to ignore. For sure an awful lot of people happily eat lobster, they just don't want to acknowledge how it's done.

 

(I'm not ranting or being judgemental. I'm a very slowly recovering vegetarian and feeling all kinds of conflict right now. I have eaten lobster and will have it again, though I'm not particularly enamoured by it. I haven't cooked one myself mostly because it's messy and I don't care for it that much).

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Because to some people being boiled alive seems a particularly cruel death.

I don't know. Being beheaded (our chickens) doesn't seem that great either. Especially when you consider how they run around right after. Or thrown in a bucket with tons of other fish with just a little water? Or tossed straight onto ice? That's what happens to our fish.

 

I have a hard time seeing why one is better than the other re: butchering animals. I could be odd though.

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no, I haven't and won't.  But... once we had some Bible college girls coming over for dinner and they wanted to cook some kind of crab dish for us. I thought they'd bring crab meat, but to my surprise, they brought live crabs.  I gave them the pot, but left the house when they cooked it.  I think it's a horrible way to die, and I'd imagine not quick enough.

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I don't understand this, unless you are vegetarian.

 

I mean, all fish/seafood/poultry/pigs/cattle die before we eat them So why is this way different?

 

Now, that being said, I wouldn't do it. To me, it's sort of how I won't actually butcher our chickens. I help pluck and stuff, but won't do the moment of butchering. However, we do fish and eat what we catch. I'd help clean the fish but DH likes doing it.

 

Anyway, that's a tangent to my answer to the OP. I live in the Midwest. This is so not a thing here.

No, not a vegetarian. I do hope animals that we eat are more humanly killed than putting them alive in boiling water.
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Yes I have several times.  I don't like doing it though and many grocery stores around here will do it for you so I usually take them up on it.  My only dislike with that is they tend to overcook it.

 

That all said, I really don't like lobster though.  Last couple of times I bought it (not too long ago) was for my younger kid.  He loves them.  One I boiled and one I had the store boil.

 

 

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No, not a vegetarian. I do hope animals that we eat are more humanly killed than putting them alive in boiling water.

 

Well you might not consider this more humane, but in culinary school we often stabbed them in their head with a knife before dropping them in.  It's very quick. 

 

I know, that sounds like a heck of a thing, but yep.

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We did it a lot growing up. I hated the sounds they'd make in the pot before they died. ugh....

 

That sound is trapped air in the shell.  Lobsters don't have vocal cords or anything like that.

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Yes, I've cooked lobster many times.  The sounds are not a lobster's plea for mercy, but air/steam in the shell. 

 

When I was a teen, I worked the window at a take out place that served ice cream, lobster, fried clams, etc.  One of the cooks refused to put live lobsters in the pot, so I would have to go back in the kitchen when things got busy and throw them in the pot for him.  He "refused to be a murderer."   Didn't bother me. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No, not a vegetarian. I do hope animals that we eat are more humanly killed than putting them alive in boiling water.

So, my question remains: what is a humane way to butcher something? I mean, I don't think people should slowly dismember the animals they eat as a way to kill them. But, push come to shove, all the ways I've mentioned seem more or less the same in terms of how humane they are.

 

Please, somebody, explain it!

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So, my question remains: what is a humane way to butcher something? I mean, I don't think people should slowly dismember the animals they eat as a way to kill them. But, push come to shove, all the ways I've mentioned seem more or less the same in terms of how humane they are.

 

Please, somebody, explain it!

 

I'm with you.  I guess humane would be quick, painless, and dignified?  But at the end of the day, do we know for sure what is going down with the various methods?

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So, my question remains: what is a humane way to butcher something? I mean, I don't think people should slowly dismember the animals they eat as a way to kill them. But, push come to shove, all the ways I've mentioned seem more or less the same in terms of how humane they are.

 

Please, somebody, explain it!

 

I'd say beheading, done quickly, sounds better than boiling alive. 

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From Consider the Lobster, an essay published in Gourmet magazine:

 

"...after all the abstract intellection, there remain the facts of the frantically clanking lid, the pathetic clinging to the edge of the pot. Standing at the stove, it is hard to deny in any meaningful way that this is a living creature experiencing pain and wishing to avoid/escape the painful experience.

 

In any event, at the [Maine Lobster] Festival, standing by the bubbling tanks outside the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker, watching the fresh-caught lobsters pile over one another, wave their hobbled claws impotently, huddle in the rear corners, or scrabble frantically back from the glass as you approach, it is difficult not to sense that they’re unhappy, or frightened, even if it’s some rudimentary version of these feelings…and, again, why does rudimentariness even enter into it? Why is a primitive, inarticulate form of suffering less urgent or uncomfortable for the person who’s helping to inflict it by paying for the food it results in?"

Edited by MercyA

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Which can be done.  Pierce it between the eyes with a sharp knife.

 

I admire efforts to reduce suffering, but, apparently, according to the author I quoted above:

 

"Lobsters’ nervous systems operate off not one but several ganglia, a.k.a. nerve bundles, which are sort of wired in series and distributed all along the lobster’s underside, from stem to stern. And disabling only the frontal ganglion does not normally result in quick death or unconsciousness."

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Well.  This has been a disturbing thread!  I never have, and now I wonder why Martha Stewart didn't mention all this carnage in her cookbook.  :sneaky2:

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Never done it and never could.

 

I'm not completely moral, though. I ate a bunch of lobster when I visited Maine and still have a soft spot for lobster rolls.  Didn't even think I liked lobster until I had them.

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