“Demo!” Chef shouted. “Here is how we fabricate the lobster.”
She grabbed one of the poor things by the head, raised her chef’s knife into the air and stabbed it right through the “skull”.
“Nooooooo!” The class screamed in horror. (Well, actually it was just me).
“Then you rip off the tail with a twist,” she continued. The knife was still jetting up vertically from the lobster’s head, and I think I was still screaming.
“And now the claws,” she said as she grabbed her lobster shears and snipped off its arms.
“This is the humane way to kill a lobster. It feels no pain,” she said trying to make eye contact with us while we watched it flop around on the counter, tail-less, armless and with a giant knife sticking out of its head.
Suddenly, my appetite was gone. (Except for that brie that someone had brought in. Well, it was just sitting there on the butcher block behind us… and it was good. I didn’t want them to feel bad.)
I was so horrified!!! How could anyone do that to an animal!?! I may never eat again!
“Okay”, she said. “Now it’s your turn. And be quick because we’re short on time.”
I grabbed my biggest knife and stood by as person after person jammed their knives through the lobsters and had at them. It was awful. You have to keep the bands on their claws because they keep snapping at you horribly. The tail, even after being completely separated from the body, will flip so hard it that it almost rips your finger off. YIKES!
There I stood in the stuffy commercial kitchen staring at the one lobster left. Mine. It was not quite so heavenly. I really didn’t think I could do it. Unfortunately, I had already planned to approach Chef that night and ask her for a job in a restaurant. I couldn’t let her see me wimp out now. I knew she was watching me, too.
I clutched my knife and lunged for the poor little lobster. As I grasped it around the head, it jumped from my hand, skidded off the counter and landed on the floor. I was screaming like an a-hole.
Everyone jumped. So much for not looking like a wimp. I stared at Chef. ” We always just throw them in the water and cover the pot. They never seem to struggle,” I implored.
“How do you know? Can you see through steel?” She asked. “It takes them 15 seconds to die by boiling water,” she added.
“Would you like to be boiled alive for 15 seconds?” She asked.
Well to be truthful. At that moment I did.
I scooped the poor thing from the floor, while blurting out a colorful variety of vulgar expletives, as if I was speaking in tongues. I jammed the knife through the back of its head. I continued swearing like a sailor with Tourette’s Syndrome.
I snipped off the claws as its tail kept snapping at my hand. It stung, but I kept going. I snipped off each leg. Snap. Snap. Snap.
I removed the tail from the now limbless thorax. I cut the thorax in half to remove the tomalley and coral. There was a lot of coral in this poor girl. So much that Chef proclaimed with a gleam in her eye, “Oooh! This one would’ve had a lot of babies!”
I was thoroughly disgusted. I was still muttering foul things as I as I cut the tail into 4 small pieces where the segments join. When I was done, the thought of ever eating lobster again was a distant one. I felt horrible.
But, when cooking was done, in true Jules form, I was one of the first to the table with my fork.
A beautifully presented lobster pasta, Lobster a l’Americaine and lobster bisque were served. They were all delicious. I felt guilty enjoying it so much and embarrassed of my tantrum.
Chef came to my side. She patted me on my back and said, “Jules, you swear like a real cook!”