My mother, although multi-talented, had an aversion to the kitchen and has often said that I learned to cook at an early age “out of self-defense.” When she made chicken à l'orange by smearing a chicken with powdered Tang, I quickly developed a necessary passion for creating tasty things to eat. Somewhere in the family photograph album is a picture of me at the stove, age ten, happily stirring marinara sauce.

I developed a lifelong fascination with food; good food. There was even a foray of working as a chef’s assistant at a French restaurant during my mid twenties, just for fun. I had always loved watching Julia Child and knew that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was to be revered. It wasn’t until I read her biography (long before the Julie & Julia movie) that I really became fascinated with her work. From that book, I decided to prepare her recipe for mayonnaise.

Upon tasting it, I wept. . . .

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lobster Killer

How do you feel about killing live lobsters? True, dispatching a fellow creature is not the most pleasant task in the world but, unless you’re a vegetarian, it’s a task that must be done in order to get that entrée on your plate.

I’m sure we all remember the “lobster killer” scene from Julie and Julia in which Julie was barely able to plunk the lobster into the boiling cauldron. Finally, after doing so, the lobster dramatically sends the lid flying off the pot causing Julie to scurry out of the kitchen like a frightened kitten.

Such drama! Boiling a lobster is nothing remotely like that in real life.

I really have mixed emotions when it comes to eating the flesh of animals. (And yes, I’d be a very satisfied and happy vegetarian.) At one point, that luscious boeuf Bourguignon was a live cow that was gruesomely killed – something I’m not sure I could bring myself to do.

I have eaten a vegetarian diet for much of my life, mainly because I really enjoy food that doesn’t have meat in it, and also on principle. If I couldn’t bring myself to kill a cow, then I’m exercising some pretty inconsistent principles by purchasing and eating beef.

In reality, though, I’m not at all that wedded to consistent principles.

The beef at the market has already come from a murdered cow and my being a vegetarian won’t change that one way or the other. If I didn’t buy it, then I couldn’t enjoy Julia’s boeuf Bourguignon, so there’s that.

What I can do is pay a bit extra for organic beef that comes from free-range cows rather than hormone-pumped ones that live a dreadful life. That is, unless it’s too hot to walk the extra eight blocks to Whole Foods Market. Like I said, I’m a snurd and not that wedded to my principles, alas.

Before I began writing about Julia’s food, I was at my friends’ house preparing a Julia meal. I was making lobster Thermidore and decided to demonstrate Julia’s method of quickly killing the lobster. My friend, Steve, demonstrated the simpler lobster-in-the-pot method. He’s also a veterinarian and, no doubt, very familiar with the nervous system of animals. As he explains, the lobster feels nothing.

Yes, killing a live lobster is not that horrible, probably because they're not cute and fluffy. If I had done the same to a beagle puppy, this video would have gone viral and I'd have been arrested. Obviously, some animals are blessed with cuteness and fluffiness so that we won't eat them.
Evolution is an amazing thing.

With that, I give you “Lobster Killers”

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