National Lobster Day
annually on June 15th
In colonial times and in the early years of the republic, lobster was most often eaten by the lower classes, servants, slaves, and apprentices—it was not until much later that it became a delicacy. This was largely because lobster was so plentiful and cheap. European settlers reported they found them washed ashore in piles two feet high. In these early years, they were known as the "cockroach of the ocean," and prisoners were even known to refuse to eat them. Although Native Americans ate crustaceans, they also commonly used lobster as fertilizer and on fishing hooks.
Lobster had first been caught by hand on shorelines, but in the late eighteenth century boats called smacks began being used, which had tanks that could transport live lobsters. Lobster trapping, which was first practiced in Maine, gained prominence and became the way to catch them during the following century. Railways and the ability to can food helped to change the trajectory of lobster in the mid-nineteenth century. Cheap canned lobster made its way inland and became popular there. Trains also helped people who lived inland travel to New England's Atlantic coast, where they ate lobster at restaurants. The first lobster pound was established in Vinalhaven, Maine, in 1876. By the 1880s, New Yorkers and Bostonions had found a taste for the crustacean, and its price had risen sharply. By the time of World War II it was known as a delicacy, and it was being eaten at high rates by the wealthy, who could afford it as the economy began taking off again during the war.
American lobsters, commonly known as Maine lobsters, can reach three feet in length and weigh 40 pounds. They have a lifespan of about 50 years, but some have been known to live to be 100. They are high in protein, but relatively low in calories. They also are high in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and vitamins E, B-12, and B-6. They can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways. When served as an entree, they are boiled, steamed, baked, or grilled, and then often dipped in melted butter. Lobster bisque is a popular cream-based soup. Lobster rolls consist of some variation of lobster mixed mayonnaise and dijon mustard, diced celery, seasonings, and lemon juice, and placed in a split top roll. These and other recipes are enjoyed on National Lobster Day.
How to Observe National Lobster Day
Here are a few ideas on how to spend the day:
- Have lobster at a restaurant. Perhaps you can have it at one of the best seafood restaurants in your state. Many restaurants are known to have lobster specials today, so keep an eye out.
- Have some lobster at a lobster shack or pound.
- Plan a getaway to a lobster festival such as the Maine Lobster Festival or the Great American Lobster Fest.
- Make and eat lobster. You could prepare it boiled or grilled, could make lobster bisque, or could try your hand at making lobster rolls.