I Feel Just Like Fanny Brice About to Dig Into a Lobster Feast

Remember the movie Funny Girl? The one starring Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice? Remember the scene where Nicky Arnstein takes her to Maine and introduces her to lobster? And she eats herself stupid?

Since arriving in Maine I’ve had lobster in just about every way it can possibly be prepared. I’ve had lobster bisque, lobster stew, lobster pot pie, and a lobster sandwich. I’ve had lobster atop a Caesar salad. But until last night I hadn’t splurged on a whole lobster. Since I will soon be leaving Maine, I figured it was now or never. My server suggested a 1 1/4 pound lobster, which sounded just fine to me. A few minutes later, she plunked down a veritable lobster feast in front of me. On it was an entire lobster – claws, head, body, tail and all.

Now, I’m not a particularly squeamish person, so the antennae and the itsy bitsy feet didn’t really bother me. My problem was how to eat it. Whenever I have previously ordered lobster the tail has always been extracted from the shell.

The first thing I noted was that the server brought me an extra plate that held a large cotton dish towel, a wet nap, a tiny fork, and a set of claw-crackers. Oh boy, I thought, this is going to be messy. I have peeled crabs before, so I have a general idea of what it involves, but I was totally unsure of which parts of the lobster were edible and how to get into it to begin with. Trying to be inconspicuous, I caught the attention of my server and asked for directions. She explained the process and then left me to my own devices. I cracked, bent, pulled, dug, and generally decimated that lobster, sucking every last morsel of juicy flesh from the shell and then licking my fingers to boot.

“You did pretty good, what with it bein’ your first time and all,” my server later commented.

“Yep, I did,” I replied, proud of my skills. Now all I had to do was clean myself up.

I wiped my hands on the dish towel. I broke out the wet nap. I squeezed lemon juice into my palms and rubbed them together. I’ve since returned to my hotel, taken a bath and a subsequent shower, but I just can’t get the smell of lobster off my hands. I’ll bet Fanny Brice never had this problem.

7 thoughts on “I Feel Just Like Fanny Brice About to Dig Into a Lobster Feast”

  1. I had lobster for the first time last night at my boyfriend’s parents’ house. I met his grandmother, grandfather, little cousin, aunt, and uncle at the same time. (I’d met his parents a few times before.) I spilled the butter…twice. And they were not happy with my best friend being gay. My boyfriend’s mom had to show me how to eat it. She took the shell off for me and told me to just eat it with my fingers. Unfortunately, i got lobster under my fingernails and all I can smell right now is the icky smelling lobster on my hands. I’ve showered, I’ve washed my hands like mad. I just can’t get the smell off! I love the lobster, just not the smell on my hands a full 20 hours later.
    How do I get it off? Please, help me!!!!

    • Hi Brittany: Yep, that’s always a problem. Best thing I’ve found to do is soak your fingers in lemon juice. But the deliciousness is worth the lingering odor, don’t you think?

  2. The first time I ate lobster was 1977 at Bill and Ellie’s — Ellie had come home from the store and said that she had a treat for us. I thought to myself, I have no idea how to get into what looked like a huge shell! Ellie noticed that I was not doing anything and asked me if all was well — I finally admitted that I had never eaten lobster before — she cracked it open and showed me what to eat and from that moment on, I have LOVED lobster but still I always have the kitchen crack it open!! Fond memories.


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