|by Melissa Waterman
I was much, much younger than I am now, I admired adults immensely. My
highest goal was to be included in adult activities, like cocktail
parties, ladies' coffee groups, or dinner gatherings. There was just
something so mysterious about these social events, like entering Ali
Baba's cave, and I was firmly convinced that if I could just be
included, the bewildering behavior of the adults in my life might begin
to make sense.
One day, I was. We were joining family friends
for a summertime supper. The long table was set, the windows flung open
to the evening air. The hostess beckoned me over. "You sit here," she
said nonchalantly. I took my seat. I was at the table, surrounded by
adults! People settled in their chairs, beer was poured, a basket of
bread passed around. No one, including my mother, looked twice at me. I
was delighted. Then the main course was brought out - a black enamel pot
full of steaming lobsters.
I had never been served a lobster
before. My father didn't like seafood so the menu in my home revolved
around chicken and beef. A modest-sized lobster landed on my plate, its
antennae curled along its back. I was appalled. Gazing at the others
around the table, I soon realized that the only way to be part of the
group was to rip the creature apart, crack it open with a nutcracker and
drag the meat out. This, unfortunately, was beyond my abilities at that
young age. I think someone eventually opened a claw for me but I was
not about to eat what was extracted. My lobster quickly landed on
someone else's plate and my brief masquerade as an adult was over.
bring this story up because this week thousands of lobster eaters are
descending upon Rockland for the 65th annual Maine Lobster Festival.
Under the broad tent pitched at the city's Public Landing they will
crack open and eat more than 20,000 pounds of lobster during the
five-day festival. They come in such numbers because to eat fresh
lobster is still a luxury for those who live far from the sea. What
these hordes of lobster diners don't know is that lobster is actually
quite good for you.
The Maine Lobster Promotion Council, based
in Portland, notes on its Web site that lobster is a meat that is lower
in calories than skinless chicken breast, lean beef or even a poached
egg! It also ranks high as a low-cholesterol food. One hundred grams of
chicken has 85 milligrams of cholesterol, lean beef has 86 milligrams, a
poached egg has 423 milligrams while lobster has just 72 milligrams.
is a good source of lean protein, for those who favor the
no-carbohydrate, high-protein diets popular these days. In addition, it
is packed with many essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A,
B12, vitamin D and vitamin E. Lobster meat contains generous amounts of
selenium, a mineral known to boost the immune system and maintain
thyroid health, as well as copper and zinc. And, of course, iodine, a
mineral also critical to the thyroid gland.
Then there's the
Omega-3 fatty acids. These are the polyunsaturated fatty acids that one
ingests from most seafood. They protect the heart in multiple ways,
including reducing inflammation and blood clotting, and lowering blood
pressure and "bad" cholesterol. Lobster is simply brimming with these
valuable fatty acids.
How many other foods considered an
indulgence can claim so many health benefits? Ice cream? No. Steak?
Definitely not. Caviar? Turns out caviar is high in sodium and
cholesterol (50 to 94 grams in a tablespoon, according to the U.S.D.A.).
So what's a diner seeking a splurge to do?
Follow the lead of this week's eager Maine Lobster Festival visitors. Eat lobster! ... maybe skip the butter.