I arrived in Maine two days ago. Upon arriving, Husband and I settled in for a lobster roll. This unassuming sandwich relies almost exclusively on the flavor of the Maine coast specialty, sweet and tender lobster meat. We ate them quietly while sitting at bar stools along a dock looking out at the boats.
Lobsters come a long way to get into my stomach, and I don’t even know the extent to it. I’ve been reading a bit of The Lobster Coast and just the view I’ve gotten so far is crazy – setting traps, checking traps by hand, taking the lobsters to market, cooking them up and making the lobster rolls. That doesn’t even include the long bottom-dwelling lives of these weird bugs. What stuns me, though, is that it is a supremely local, mostly low-tech industry. Certainly, some electronics are helping lobstermen and lobsterwomen out, but most likely, these lobsters are from somewhere less than 100 miles of where we’re staying in Maine.
I think the combination of the specialness of lobster (I’ve never eaten it, that I can recall, outside of beach towns, and even then, it’s just a bit of lobster meat in bisque) and the intense beauty of the coast here that makes me so impressed by the lines of this particular food system. Sure, lobster is expensive, but it’s also got such a story behind it; between lobsters and tourism, it seems like the Maine economy has taken a few hits over the last two centuries, and those two things always seem to shore it up.
I have also seen some other aquatic life that I don’t (and never would) eat: whales. The baby and momma humpbacks pictured were less than 100 feet from our boat, and it was pretty magical to float alongside as they surfaced, blew air out of their blowholes, and flipped their flukes at us. Maine is magical for many reasons that have nothing to do with food, and I’m trying to eat all the magic up.