Lobster Again?! Auughhh!
on 6/23/2005 (6)
Once Upon A Time:
|Rock Lobster! |
Love lobster? I mean really, really love lobster, but can't afford it, let alone get enough of it? There was a time that lobster was considered fit only for slaves and indentured servants!
Homarus Americanus, alternatively known as the New England, Maine, or Atlantic lobster, once thrived in such profundity on Cape Cod that the colonists actually used them, not as food, but as fertilizer for their crops or as bait for their fish hooks. As sustenance, lobster was little more than “poverty food,” fit only for feeding indentured servants, slaves, children or cows, in that order. In Massachusetts, the servants finally rebelled and won an amendment to their contracts- No longer would they be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week.
On the flipside, do you think hamburgers are American trash food? Think again.
The origin of the hamburger is clouded in history and controversy. In Medieval times the Tartars, a band or warriors from the plains of Central Asia would place pieces of beef under their saddles while they rode. This would tenderize the meat that would then be eaten raw. This is the legend of the origin of the modern dish, Beef Tartare.
In the nineteenth century, German immigrants brought a dish called Hamburg Style Beef to the United States, which had traveled to the seaport city of Hamburg, Germany from Russia. This dish was a raw, chopped piece of beef and is believed to be the primitive ancestor of the modern hamburger.
Hamburger was initially introduced into fine restaurants in America in the 19th century and actually cost more than filet mignon! Mull that one over your next quarter pounder with cheese. Saddle meat! Mmmmmm...
And whattabout chicken? Chicken is everywhere nowadays and is produced on mega farms throughout the American farm belt. Chicken nuggets, chicken patties, chicken fritters, chicken burgers, chicken everywhere, to the point that Americans are starting to perceive chicken as a "trash food", especially ground, breaded, formed and fried chicken nuggets and patties.
As recently as the 1950's, however, chicken was more expensive than steak, and was usually eaten as a special treat and on holidays. Keep in mind that valuable hens produce eggs, so spare, over the hill cock roosters were often culled for frying on the fourth of July and Labor Day.
So what's to be learned here?
Firstly, over abundance of a food can often reduce it to "trash" status, and scarcity to "gourmet" status and this is certainly evident in the case of the lobster. It also shows that inexpensive food, like hamburger, can be elevated to gourmet status, at least for a while, through its sheer novelty.
Homarus Americanus again? Doh!h=0" hei
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