Skip to content

The Atlantic, Some Lobsters, and Beer in a Can

September 5, 2007

The beach at Chatham

I finally visited the Cape for the first time, after over four years of living in Massachusetts. I grew up on the Pacific and always considered myself an ocean lover, a beach goer, someone who had to live near large bodies of salt water. And yes, Boston is technically near a large body of salt water, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. I so rarely see the Atlantic, and when I do it’s usually in some half-assed way: I’m looking at a bay or harbor or some crap. This weekend was the first time I found myself looking at the unhampered, unimpeded Atlantic Ocean. And I got to tell ya something: It was a little disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed my weekend in Chatham. It was glorious to spend an entire day at the beach, to experience truly perfect summer weather (no humidity!), to actually get a suntan and wear a bathing suit. And best of all: I had my first real lobster experience. Lobster ravioli from Trader Joe’s just doesn’t count. No, this weekend we bought live lobsters and threw them into a vat of boiling water and then pulled their innards out of their shells to devour. Yes, yes we did. And I loved it.

I figured out what always bothered me about lobster before–the antennae. There was just something so creepy and invasive-seeming about them and I just didn’t want to get anywhere close. So Mr. X tore those antennae off. And then I was completely ok with ripping at the tail and cracking open the claws and otherwise destroying the poor (and really gross looking) creature. And we had true New England style lobster: boiled, and with lots and lots of butter.

Attack Lobster

Sorry for the flash photography and all that, but it was 11 o’clock at night by the time we actually got around to eating. Vacation will do that to a person. Cooking the lobster was way easier than I expected. All you have to do is find a really, really bit pot, put enough water in it to cover the lobsters, and bring the water to a boil. Then you quickly put the live lobsters in the boiling water and cook them for about 18 minutes. Mr. X has a trick to put them to sleep, as it were: You hold them up in the air with their backs facing you and their claws up, then stroke them right between their creepy little eyes until their claws droop. Then you can kill them. I don’t know that I could ever bring myself to stroke a live lobster between the eyes. I think I’d prefer to just toss it in the boiling water alive and kicking. But that’s just me. I’m a cold blooded killer.

They are very, very steamy when them come out of the boiling water, so you need to let them sit for a good, oh, I don’t know, five minutes before you start cracking them open. We might have left them longer, I really don’t remember. They should be ok once the steam has dissipated and they aren’t burning to the touch. That would be my guess.

Implements of Destruction

These are the implements of destruction we put to the boiled critters. You use the little cracker things to crack open the claws, which was a bit harder than I anticipated. And you use the long skinny flat things to pull the meat out of the claws and knuckles and other tricky spots. And you use the forks to, um, eat all the lobster meat. Make sure you have lots and lots of melted butter and garlic to dip the tasty meat into. We also baked some potatoes on the grill (give those about an hour, wrapped in foil). We were going to have corn, too, but it wasn’t looking so good.

We showed him

Whooo boy we sure showed those lobsters who was boss. There are a lot of leftover bits when eating lobster.

I also had my first lobster roll, at a bar called the Beachcomber in Wellfleet. I didn’t realize lobster rolls are served cold, and I kind of think I would have preferred the meat to be warm, but it was still pretty good. I can’t believe I’m actually a fan of lobster now. I never really thought that would happen.

The rest of the weekend, besides eating lobster, involved lots of sitting on the beach, watching the Red Sox’s rookie pitch a no hitter, and drinking canned beer in what New Englanders apparently call “beer coozies.”


Actually I tried to avoid the canned beer as much as I could, because I don’t like it. But I did learn that tinto, mixed in a plastic disposable cup with a lid, is a perfect beach beverage because it pretty much looks like fruity iced tea or something.

I could only see waves if I looked through one of these things:


That is why the Atlantic is disappointing. I hear tell waves are around somewhere, but I don’t believe it. I’m sorry, Amelia, but I’m not sure you’re ever going to find a place to surf here.

And the final cool Cape thing? Our host, Billy, grows tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes. I’ve never seen so many freaking tomatoes. One day Billy picked at least twenty pounds of tomatoes, and that wasn’t even all the tomatoes in the garden.

Lots of tomatoes

That might not at first look like a lot of tomatoes, but that is at least twenty pounds. That bowl was enormous. And they were the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten, straight off the vine, organically grown, and perfectly, perfectly ripe. I can’t wait to have a garden of my own.

So that was pretty much my Cape adventure. Sorry I don’t really have a recipe for you or anything fun like that. The weekend was an exercise in overindulgence and I’m still recovering. I started school yesterday and am feeling like something of an ascetic right now. Mostly because I’m trying to recover from the nasty cold I caught out there on the beach. I do have a few things to share, including delicious ice cream, peanut sauce and noodles, and black bean soup. It will all appear here soon, I promise. In the meantime, I have homework to do.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Gramma Jeri permalink
    September 10, 2007 12:07 pm

    Hi Laura, a quick note to say “sounds like fun” and isn’t lobster just “delicious’??? will check again when you have the receipes up…Love ya Gramma

  2. EmilyC permalink
    September 12, 2007 6:45 pm

    I figured out how to RSS! Yay for me! Certain beaches have better waves than others, that’s my only tip (although I couldn’t tell you which beaches have them). I am jealous you were able to have some delicious lobster…it’s about time!

  3. you nice permalink
    September 18, 2007 12:29 pm

    will it take me 4 years to get to the cape?? assuming i’m around boston for four years!

    i need to hit billy up for some of those tomatoes…mmmmm, yummy!

    one more thing…what’s tinto?


  1. One Last New England Lobster « The Kitchen Illiterate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: