Lobsters: Culinary Collectibles and Delectable Crustaceans!

lobster1By Rachel Hoffman


   The end of summer is approaching, and with that, I have an urgent feeling to squeeze as much summer as I can in the remaining weeks. One of my first thoughts surrounding this was the lobster! Never have collecting and cuisine merged together so nicely. Lobsters are fun collectibles that come in all budgets, shapes and sizes. Many of the objets d’ art are functional; they double as cooking utensils, molds, and serving dishes. On the high end are works of fine art like surrealist Joseph Cornell’s shadow box, “Lobster Quadrille,” or Willem Kalf’s “Still Life with the Drinking Horn” c. 1653, National Gallery, London. At the fun end of the spectrum are stuffed toy lobsters, a Steiff lobster, lobster lights to string on a nautical Christmas tree or along a summer patio, and lobster jewelry.


lobster2   Germany produced 19th and early 20th-century lobster-shaped serving pieces for serving lobster tails. There are antique silver picks and cracking utensils that go with the serving pieces. Vintage lobster bibs, often provided by restaurants that served the delicacy, are fun kitchen décor, as are aprons with the popular shellfish [though lobsters aren’t really fish!] Trays decorated with lobsters and recipes for cooking lobster are fun, too. The American Woman’s Cookbook, 1948, contains around 20 entries for lobster. Great recipes include lobster bisque soup, lobster and corn chowder, lobster à la Newburg, lobster thermidor, lobster rolls, and barbecued lobster tail. Or, you can enjoy a good, old fashioned lobster bake, served on the beach with sweet corn and clams, and of course, the beverage of your choice.


lobster3   However you serve them up, lobster collectibles are fun, classic and enduring. They also encourage lobster awareness and interest in the sustainability of the oceans. There are laws in place to prevent over-harvesting of lobsters and other crustaceans, and many restaurants now protect live lobsters over a certain size and age. Many years ago, the sitcom “Ellen” dealt with a 100-year-old lobster that was granted amnesty, and SNL has done similar skits. So, find some lobster collectibles, and dig up some recipes for that end of summer cook out.

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