Lobsters are both very delicious and highly contentious. Despite the fact that they’ve been the upmarket shellfish of choice for restaurants and diners all over the world, there’s a dark secret at the heart of every single lobster dish. Unfortunately for the tasty crustaceans, most of them meet their maker by being boiled alive in a pot of steaming salted water.
For obvious reasons, many people consider this cooking technique needlessly cruel. After all, how many other animals can you say end up in the oven whilst they’re still kicking? Nonetheless, top chefs insist that this method is absolutely essential in making the lobsters taste as delicious as physically possible. It might not be ideal for the lobsters, but it makes all the difference to our tummies. Hence, a hot debate rages in cookery.
This controversy has caused one Maine restaurant to end up in hot water. In an attempt to ease their lobster’s suffering, Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbour is currently under investigation from state health inspectors after allegedly blowing marijuana smoke over their shellfish before they end up in the pan, in an attempt to “mellow them out”.
The restaurant’s owner, Charlotte Gill, is also a licensed medicinal marijuana caregiver, putting her in the unique position of both catering and cannabis expert. Her now famous “smoked” lobster meat - dubbed “high-end” by restaurant staff - proved a hit with locals before the state stepped in to put a stop to it.
Maine Health Inspection Programme spokeswoman Emily Spencer revealed that the restaurant and its unorthodox technique are currently under investigation, though no findings have yet to be published. As the state conduct their research, they have asked the eatery to cease serving “smoked meat” for the time being.
There appears to be little compelling evidence either way to suggest whether this treatment has any effect whatsoever over either the lobster’s experience or the meat’s flavour. Gill has reported that after being subjected to the smoke, the live lobsters are far more placid, and significantly less likely to wield their claws in an aggressive way.
Lobster scientists, however, have been much more sceptical. Professor at the University of Maine and former Lobster Institute director Robert Bayer believes that the animal’s nervous system is so primitive that the smoke is unlikely to have any effect whatsoever. Bayer also asserts that dropping lobsters in boiling water destroys that same nervous system so quickly that there is little chance of them feeling anything anyway - regardless of how stoned they may or may not be beforehand.
Unfortunately for both Gill and her lobsters, there may be a few unforeseen roadblocks. The Maine Medicinal Marijuana Programme have been quick to cast aspersions on Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound’s antics. Spokesman David Heinrich, for instance, stated that, “Medical marijuana may only be grown for and provided to persons with a marijuana recommendation from a qualified medical provider. Lobsters are not people.”
Despite the doubt surrounding her methods, Gill is confident that the state will allow her to continue her unorthodox cooking. Speaking to Press Herald, she stated that “After being contacted by the state, and upon reviewing its present laws and codes applicable to this arena, and then making a few minor adjustments to our procedure, we are completely confident that we will be able to proceed as planned.” Whatever the outcome, interesting times may be ahead for shellfish specialists.