A Lobster Prayer

This week was our last real cooking week of school, with the next two weeks devoted to final projects and exams. Chef had been promising us lobster all semester, and he brought out the big guns on Tuesday: 3 pound lobsters for everyone.

We had a quick lesson on how to “humanely” kill a lobster with the “quick-cut” method (inserting your chef’s knife into the skull and cutting into the beast’s brain). We also learned how to cut the lobster in half and clean it, and how to remove the meat easily (by dunking it in boiling water for a few seconds to release the fibers holding onto the shell).

20 lobsters were sacrificed that day in our honor, but in the worst possible way. These poor creatures were not humanely killed, but instead suffered slow, painful deaths at the hands of novice cooks, in the name of education. In defense of us all, those suckers had thick shells, 1/4-inch thick in some places, and it seemed impossible at times to cut through. As we struggled to cut the shells in half, the lobsters wriggled and kicked and begged for their lives.

OK, so that part of the process I could forgive because we were all learning, and not purposely hacking these lobsters for sport. But, some of the more “mature” students decided to animate the lobsters, turning them into puppets with funny voices. They’ll go far in the careers, I’m sure.

J, on my cooking team, seems to have developed a social habit this semester, and can be found at every other cooking station but his own. His cooking has suffered this semester because of it, and that drives me crazy because the many times we’ve had to cook together, whatever he cooks comes out like crap. Unfortunately, he was in charge of killing the lobster and removing the meat for our team. I was responsible for cooking it.

All prepped and ready to make the lobster themidor, I patiently waited for the lobster meat. Expecting 4 pieces of tail meat and 4 claws, a disappointing mangled mess of shredded lobster meat arrived. I was livid and called him on it; he didn’t seem to care much. Thankfully we didn’t have to serve our dish to Chef.

So, to those 20 lobsters we butchered and possibly tortured on Tuesday, I send a prayer to you. May your afterlife be better than your last days with us!

P.S. despite, you were very delicious.

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