Fried Lobster, 18th Century Food for the Servants
John Townsend cooks up an 18th century fried lobster recipe that will knock your sock off!
LOBSTER – a Mini History
In earlier times in America, lobster was not held in high regard. Of course when the settlers and Indians saw large lobsters piled 2 feet high on the Massachusetts shorelines, did they think this was too much of a good thing or maybe too hard to cook? They reasoned it looked like a giant insect and was bottom feeder. Yuck. That was when they decided it was considered undesirable for the elite, but a perfect food for servants, lower members of society or prisoners.
Lobstering was easy at first. They were simply gathered off the beach until they became over-harvested and fisherman had to go further into the ocean where they laid traps on the ocean floor. In the late 1700’s, sailing boats called ‘smacks’ with a tank in the center of the boat with holes for seawater circulation to keep the lobster alive, were operated by not by lobstermen, but ‘smackmen’. Lobsters were larger then. If it weighed less than 3 or 4 pounds, they were thrown back.
By the turn of the 20th century, Maine coastal lobster canneries had been operational for over 60 years. People had developed a real taste for it and the food for the lower classes became the food of the masses. Popular during the World Wars because it was abundant and not rationed, the 1950’s welcomed lobster as a delicacy putting it on the road to being an expensive food.