In 1977 KISS, still reeling from their wildly successful Destroyer album (YES, they were called albums … go ask your parents) were back on the road supporting their new recording, Love Gun.
Back then, a certain wide-eyed, long-haired, teenaged kid was VERY excited to see them play the famous Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto … again.
Around the same time, a 28 ft Bendix Centurion motorhome, shiney as a new penny, rolled off the assembly line at the General Motors Recreational Vehicle Operations plant in London Ontario, Canada.
Fast forward almost 40 years, the old Gardens (in da ‘T’ to da ‘O’ … ask your kids) is now a multi level grocery store with an ice surface as its centrepiece (tragic), the glam rockers are still doing what they do best … touring (albeit older, fatter and minus two original members … tragic), and that young, wide-eyed teenager is now somewhat older and wiser albeit, still … long haired (some ‘might’ say … tragic).
Hey … I’m embracing my inner Peter Pan … I just refuse to grow up. (go ask your parents)
The focal point of my story is not the length of my hair, nor the resilience of my favourite band (or the pounds that seem to creep up on ALL of us) but … the lasting enjoyment of an old 1977 land yacht my friends own and, so lovingly call “The Bummer”.
I often get carried away telling a story … back to the MEAT.
Where am I going with this, you ask ???
EASY kiddies … stay with me on this one … I won’t go too fast.
Turns out, as I write this (through the magic of Wifi internet connections) I am on a road trip in the beautiful New England State of Maine. My Marital equivalent and I are travelling in that ancient relic I mentioned earlier, with our good friends, owners of “The Bummer”
We came East this year, to enjoy the spectacular New England coast and …
EAT SOME LOBSTER !
Although this is a vacation, I really HAVE been paying attention (between beverages) and, I’ve learned a great deal. I particularly wanted to glean some fodder for my blog along the way so, grab yourselves a nice Summer libation and pull up a chair … I’m feeling long winded.
Here goes … the State of Maine licences Lobster fishermen, who set over 3 million (yes … with an “M”) traps seasonally to ply their trade. This sustainable fishery is closely regulated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, who make sure this fishery is healthy, and these tasty crustaceans are not overfished.
Still … 3 million FREAKIN’ traps? Is there anyone else here that thinks these numbers are MASSIVE ??? HUGE ???!!!
I mean really folks … how many of you can SERIOUSLY wrap your head around THAT MANY ZEROS ??? If traps are hauled twice a day … and each one had a MINIMUM of ONE Lobster in it … WOW !!!
Unless we’re dealin’ with a Lottery check (and I would STILL have trouble) … that many zeros is just outside my scope of understanding …
AND, (here’s the CRAZY part) … THAT’S JUST THE STATE OF MAINE, NEVER MIND THE OTHER NEW ENGLAND STATES … AND THE CANADIAN FISHERY AS WELL !!!
Wow … the proliferation of these little Sea Cockroaches boggles the mind … the shear numbers !!! THEY’RE LIKE FREAKIN’ RABBITS !!! Anyway, … I digress … again.
Ok so, I knew Lobsters shed their hard outer shells (because I was paying attention in Biology class), what I didn’t know was how often. According to the guide that took us out for a beautiful Sunset tour of the Bar Harbor area, it depends. During the first year of life, a young lobster might molt a dozen times or more. As a juvenile, he will probably molt a couple of times a year. By the time it’s as large as the ones you see in the market, which are typically about 6-8 years old or older, they are probably molting only about once a year. As a lobster grows even older, there will usually be several years between molts. Since I was kinda fascinated about the process I researched it a little bit and came up with this newsletter from The Commercial Fisheries News – August 1999.
“The larger the lobster, the longer it takes it to shed. A legally sized lobster spends about 1/2-hour escaping from its old shell once it has rolled over on its side. To begin shedding, the carapace (part of shell covering the body) lifts up away from the tail. The lobster raises the carapace by swallowing water. Then, the whitish colored membrane between the body and tail bursts, the fluid escapes, and the lobster rolls over on its side. Lobsters shed the body and head first. Next, the eyes pop out under the old shell. By now you can see the new shell covering the body. Throughout this time the lobster pulls and pulls until it finally frees the bulky claw meat from the narrow joints. Once the claws are shed, the entire lobster is freed with the flip of the tail. An intact shell now lies beside the helpless rag. For the next 1/2-hour, the lobster flops around unable to support itself on its legs. The claws are shriveled up and the antennae fall to the bottom. The lobster swells up again with water to build itself a hydrostatic skeleton. Gradually, the claws swell up to fill in the new shell. In a few hours, the new shell grows to its full size.”
It stands to reason the time it takes to grow a new hard, outer shell is a very dangerous time to be a Lobster indeed, since their main method of protection is their exoskeleton. Something I didn’t know however is this … “soft shelled” Lobsters are cheaper to purchase than their “hard shelled” brethren. We’ve been told there is an abundance of them going through the ‘molt’ right now.
Guess what ??? CHA-CHING !!! CHEAPER! (and, I LIKE cheaper)
The difference in price is extreme too!!! $3.99 vs $8.99!!!
Apparently these “Soft Shells” are not as coveted because they have less meat. You end up paying for the larger shell (according to the fishmonger) BUT, their meat is considered to be sweeter. We tried them both, side by side and I can tell you something I DID learn: to me, there doesn’t seem to any discernible difference in the ‘amount’ of meat each rendered BUT … the “soft shells” were noticeably sweeter and DEFINITELY more tender!
I have never seen “soft shells” for sale where I live so, if you ever have the opportunity to travel east and visit the beautiful New England coast, BUY THE “SOFT SHELLS” !!
We bought 3 “Soft shells” @ $3.99 for $19.96 vs 2 “Hard Shells” @ $8.99 for $40.49!
My Mama didn’t raise any fools!! (I don’t think)
JUST BUY THE SOFT ONES!!!
The strangest thing I learned however is the fabled “Blue” Lobster is a real, live truth.
I met some very nice people yesterday who were returning home to Buffalo from a trip to Bar Harbor Maine. We were discussing the “Blue” Lobster and they were convinced it was a tourist hoax … why else would every “Lobster Pound” have at least ONE “Blue” on display in their tanks??? Have they been dyed???
Apparently this “anomaly” is a very rare (one in 2 MILLION!) natural occurrence and NOT tourist trickery.
I learned Lobsters “can be” olive-green, greenish-brown, sometimes even orange, reddish, dark green, or black with speckles, but it is apparently extremely rare to find a lobster that is completely blue.
Unlike true albinism, where there’s a complete lack of pigment, a “Blue” Lobster is caused by a genetic mutation where the lobster’s body makes TOO MUCH of a certain protein, … which turns its shell this crazy electric “Blue”.
Like my Dad always said “I’m from Missouri” (go ask your parents)
One thing’s for sure … the Lobsters never saw us coming. It wasn’t even a fair fight. For almost a week, claws and tails have been flying, shrapnel-like in a frenetic carnage the likes of which normal humans would scorn. It’s as though my friends and I had never been fed.
Oh ya … and that 28ft Centurion?
It’s STILL alive and well, rumbling down the highway, belching black smoke and breakin’ hearts … and, why do my friends call it the “Bummer”?
As Dan puts it … “it’s not a Beemer, it’s not a Hummer … it’s a “Bummer”.
Now you know.
I know I’ve been a little delinquent Carnivores … forgive me, the Summer has been BLAZING by at Lightspeed. Until next time, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential