View Full Version : Lobster Screaming
01-02-2003, 12:08 PM
Didn't Cecil write a column about lobsters supposedly screaming when placed in boiling water? I know I read something about this urban legend, but can't find anything from Cecil. Anyone know the straight dope on this?
01-02-2003, 12:13 PM
Yep. It's the air whistling out of the gaps in their shells as it's heated.
01-02-2003, 12:32 PM
Typically you put them in the water head first so they don't splash much. I've never noticed air bubbles escape their horrified little screaming mouths as they take the plunge.
Whistle they do, though their repertoire is limited.
01-02-2003, 12:52 PM
I have caught many, many Florida lobsters while diving, and the suckers DO make a kind of <<screech-screech>> noise when caught. Maybe that passes for screaming in lobster land, on the other hand maybe it's just the exoskeleton pieces rubbing together.
01-02-2003, 03:33 PM
Don't boil them. Steam them.
But yes, it's an air sound, not a scream.
01-02-2003, 05:58 PM
Steam them ! No wonder they scream. Here we boil them (though not completely submerged) in sea water with a bit of seaweed. They jitter around something fierce if you don't hold their head uder for a few seconds.
01-02-2003, 07:31 PM
They do moan if you tickle 'em just right.
Speaker for the Dead
01-02-2003, 07:47 PM
Do crustaceons have the nerves to feel pain like we do?
01-02-2003, 08:06 PM
originally posted by JAPrufrock
Didn't Cecil write a column about lobsters supposedly screaming when placed in boiling water?
You may be remembering the one about slugs (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_073.html) screaming. Couldn't find one that mentioned lobsters.
Lobsters don't have vocal cords.
A teacher at culinary school explained to us that lobsters do feel pain, but not to the extent that we feel it. He recommended putting them in the freezer first before steaming them. Cold "anesthetizes" them.
I've never been able to bring myself to cook one, much less eat one. I'd rather watch 'em skitter around in the tank ;)
01-02-2003, 10:30 PM
No no no, don't freeze them- it will kill them, and you don't ever want to cook or eat a dead lobster!
Put them in one of your veggie drawers in the fridge, covered with a wet towel. They will "sleep" quietly (unless they're ornery) until it's time for the pot.
I also use sea water, but have found I like the steaming method better. Here's a link that explains it-
Jeez, now I'm hungry...
01-02-2003, 10:41 PM
Why wouldn't I want to eat a dead lobster?
I sure don't want to eat a live one.. that sounds like it'd hurt. :)
01-02-2003, 10:57 PM
Oh I don't know- I remember an episode of Ripley's Believe It or Not where Jack Palance was eating "the world's freshest sushi." They opened up a live lobster's tail, removed and diced the meat quickly, and put it back into the shell of the still-moving lobster for presentation. And yeah, he ate a piece. Ack.
Seriosly though- don't cook 'em if they're dead. Bad for you.
Originally posted by EJsGirl
They opened up a live lobster's tail, removed and diced the meat quickly, and put it back into the shell of the still-moving lobster for presentation. And yeah, he ate a piece.
It's called ikezukuri or ikizukuri, and common in upscale Japanese restaurants. It's done for fish as well - the flesh is sliced off the fish and arranged around the twitching head/bone/tail. I still find it a bit disturbing but the taste is worth it. Lobster ikezukuri is wonderful stuff - it tastes so much better than steamed lobster. Usually, the head is then used to make miso soup which itself is to die for. (Though I don't know if it works with Atlantic lobsters - the Japanese ise-ebi is a different kind of lobster.)
As for the danger of dead lobsters, I think it's safe if refrigerated properly. But live ones are usually stored and transported at room temperature, so if one died and was left unnoticed it would spoil very quickly.
01-03-2003, 03:29 AM
Screaming Lobsters? The one about snails seems more real...I don't know why...
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