Lobster may be posh today, but it was once the food of poor people and prisoners. So how did this now-celebrated shellfish ascend from humble origins to its status as one of society’s most fancy foods? There’s no better time to take a closer look at this oft-craved crustacean’s journey from cast-off to commodity than on National Lobster Day this June 15th.
From Plentiful to Precious
When European colonists first arrived on the shores of North America, they were met with copious crustaceans. In fact, by some accounts these succulent shellfish were so abundant that two-foot-high piles of them could be found washed ashore. While this made them useful to settlers in dire need of sustenance, it also made them both tiresome and taken for granted. While feasting on lobsters day after day may sound like a dream come true in modern times, their amazing availability found them turning up on the plates of everyone from servants to prisoners.
And while Native Americans willfully consumed lobsters in early incarnations of the contemporary New England clambake tradition, they also used them as everything from bait to fertilizer. In other words, they were a convenience, but little else.
So, how did lobster manage to change its station? Literally, as it turns out. As America’s railways began to develop, lobster could be served to inland passengers who had never before experienced it. They quickly recognized its deliciousness. Requests for lobster grew — both on and off the tracks.
By the 1880s, chefs had learned how to properly cook and preserve lobster, and. by the 1920s, it peaked in both price and demand. A momentary setback during the Great Depression found lobster shipped overseas as an inexpensive source of protein for soldiers, but lack of rations during World War II found it appearing on plates of the penniless and the prosperous alike.
It didn’t take long before lobster was established as a delicacy. As demand grew and supplies dwindled, lobster became the delectable domain of the elite from the Rockefellers to the Kennedys. The rest is epicurean history.
The Luxury of Lobster
Today, the likes of Tom Cruise and Megan Fox cite lobster as their favorite food, while celebs like Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have feasted on it as their wedding fare. Last year, meanwhile, the Obamas served up lobster to Mark Zuckerberg, Misty Copeland, Henry Kissinger and other luminaries at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But you don’t have to be royalty to get in on the lobster love. Whether you’re thinking of hosting an intimate dinner for two or gathering your nearest and dearest together for a backyard bash, there’s no better way to set a truly extraordinary tone than with mail order lobsters. From live lobsters perfect for casual backyard clambakes to lobster sushi, lobster white truffle pizza, and Lobster Fra Diavolo suitable for even the most upscale affairs, mail order food companies make it easier than ever to enjoy the luxuriousness of lobster.
When it comes to feting a special friend or loved one, meanwhile, you can’t go wrong when you send food gifts like lobsters — an unexpected yet scrumptious way to say, “thank you,” “I love you,” or even just “hello.”
Certainly lobsters have come a long way since their modest beginnings. June 15th is the ideal occasion to rediscover for yourself the one-of-a-kind taste that propelled these sweet, succulent shellfish from poor man’s meal to foodie favorite. Shop foods today to find lobster, crabs, seafood and so much more at FoodyDirect.