Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What's that green stuff in the middle of a lobster? Can you eat it?

Who's asking: Thomas Schulz, during last month's visit to Maine

Jerry and Mary Maschino actually provided the answer to this question, as I do not consider any portion of a lobster edible.

The green stuff is called tomalley or lobster paste. It's the liver and pancreas of the lobster. It is theoretically edible, and chefs use tomalley as a flavoring in lobster bisques and stews. Fans of tomalley should remember that the liver filters waste products from an animal's bloodstream, so may contain elevated levels of various nasty things from the ocean, including heavy metals.

Dad and I celebrated his release from the hospital last night with dinner at The Lobster Trap in Winslow. He ate lobster; I ate steak.

"Whoever first ate a lobster must have been awfully hungry," I said. Dad said he thought we were all descended from primates who tried everything to see whether it was edible.

"Yeah, but we've evolved beyond that," I said. "You don't see anyone dipping a wet stick into an anthill anymore, and eating whatever they can pull up."

"People still eat insects," Dad said.

That may be... but I don't.

I almost forgot, it's Wednesday. First five songs off the iPod shuffle this morning:

“Don’t Play that Song (You Lied),” Ben E. King. Classic 1950s doo-wop.

“You’ve Been So Good Up to Now,” Lyle Lovett. A song that sums up all the terror in the heart of any parent of an adolescent. “You can make just one mistake/It can take you to your grave/Honey, one bad move can turn your life upside down/It’s such a shame, ‘cause you’ve been so good up to now.”

“Ten Pins,” The Connells. Excellent folk/pop/rock, in the vein of the Pernice Brothers and Fountains of Wayne. Are The Connells still performing?

“Goodbye Stranger,” Supertramp. This song is on my iTunes because it’s part of the Magnolia soundtrack; it reminds me uncomfortably of middle school.

“There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone,” Willie Nelson. Need to explain to someone why you’re not married? Play them this song.


Anonymous said...

The Connells are still performing (all original lineup!). Go to to find out all you'd ever want to know about the band.

I highly recommend seeing the band live, for what that's worth. I even met the guys once in Roanoke, Va., longer ago than I care to admit. Just really nice guys who care more about putting on a good rock show than becoming megastars. In fact, they early in their careers turned down big record contracts to stick with TVT records -- the folks who now put out Nick at Night collector CDs -- so they wouldn't have to change their sound.

Supertramp-related question for the Answer Girl: "Can we have kippers for breakfast?"


JJ said...

I love lobster but once this idiot on the radio described them as the cockroaches of the sea and I couldn’t eat them for years. After watching a few episodes of Fear Factor, though, I realized there are worse things than cockroaches of the sea and I’m back to the table proudly wearing my bib.

AnswerGirl said...

They're not actually insects; they have eight legs, so they're arachnids. Which makes them spiders. GIANT. SEA. SPIDERS.

Bon appetit.

AnswerGirl said...

An anonymous commenter has just corrected me, saying that lobsters have 10 legs and are therefore crustaceans. I have confirmed this, and appreciate the correction. But I deleted the comment anyway, because I do not allow anonymous comments on this blog. You don't have to sign in, but I ask you to sign your comments. Thanks.