HG: Annie Payne Column October 11, 2008

Crustacean delight Lobster Gram makes dad’s birthday a memorable one

My three siblings celebrate their birthdays in October.

My mother worked hard every year to help them feel that their days were special despite being so close together.

But with each birthday, the excitement of turning another year older wears off. What do you give a brother who is begrudgingly turning 41?

My oldest sister says that as you get older, the gifts should be about giving someone an experience or an event to remember for years to come, rather than some little trinket.

She doesn’t even wear the silver bracelet she got for her birthday five years ago, but she remembers with fondness a night of dinner and dancing with her closest friends, three years ago.

This year for my dad’s birthday, she wanted to help him have a fun experience he would always remember.

She sent him a Lobster Gram.

Two live Maine lobsters were delivered to his front door via Federal Express.

They arrived in a Styrofoam box, complete with bibs, moist towelettes, lobster forks and a cooking manual.

Mom and Dad brought the lobsters over to my house so my kids and I could be a part of the festivities and the feast.

Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts of cooking live lobsters:

•  The lobsters come with wide rubber bands on the claws. Do keep these on until the lobster is good and dead.

•  Do take pictures. The instructions that come with the lobsters suggested rubbing the lobsters’ bellies to put them in a trance before boiling. Lobster charming would be an excellent addition to any family album.

•  Do wear protective eye wear. Remember, you are dealing with boiling water and potentially irritated and jet-lagged lobsters. And the protective eye wear looks funny in pictures.

•  Don’t name the lobsters and don’t talk about what they must be thinking.

•  Do put the lobster into the boiling pot of water head first. If you were going to be boiled alive, wouldn’t you want to go in head first?

•  Don’t put the lobsters in the pot and go for a walk. It doesn’t take that long to boil a lobster. Only about 10 minutes. This is a watched pot that will boil. Stay close to the pot and watch the lobsters turn bright red. It’s part of the show.

•  Don’t forget the melted butter to dip that delicious, salty white meat in. Just like you can’t have a birthday cake without candles, you can’t have lobster without melted butter.

The next time you have a birthday to celebrate, skip the gift card or the wool socks.

Give your loved ones an experience they will remember for years to come.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog online at Anniethology.blogspot.com.


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