My great-aunt from Seabrook once told me back in the early ’80s that when she was a child “all we could afford was lobster. Now I can’t afford lobster.”
When she was a kid, lobster was very cheap and looked down upon by many upscale restaurants. But that view quickly changed over the years as New Hampshire and Maine became tourist destinations and those who traveled there got a taste for my favorite food. We were lucky because my grandfather, my aunt’s brother, went lobstering. A carpenter, he pulled in his own lobster traps to make extra money.
I went lobstering with him on occasion, and my first chore was to haul bait from his backyard. I’ll never forget the distinctive smell of hake baking in barrels in the summer sun as I scooped the bait into 5-gallon buckets. The strong odor was needed to draw the lobsters to the traps. I had to help him pull up the traps from Seabrook and Hampton Beaches, which was no easy task for a 12- or 13 year-old. I was quite happy when he finally bought a motor with a winch to pull the traps up instead of using my arms. After a day out with my grandfather, I would go home with a dozen or so lobsters.
Lobsters aren’t free for me anymore, but this year has been good to those of us who love the crustaceans as their prices have been very low.
I love lobsters simply with butter, roast potatoes and coleslaw, but on occasion, I’ll make these dishes with leftover lobster meat.
Lobster Baked with Cracker Crumbs
I use David’s Fish Market crumbs, but you can get some cracker crumbs or seafood stuffing from other seafood stores or at the supermarket. Crushed Ritz crackers will do as well.