Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mmmmm, Lobster,,,,,,,,,,

It had been a long week dealing with the weather. We had a few flight missions this week all weather related of course, but I just wanted to skies to clear for Saturday.

I had been looking forward to Saturday for some time. It was party time at the Talon hangar. A kick off to the holiday season if you will. But this gathering means a bit more to me than most realize. Every year for who knows how many years, Peter and Ronn put on a party for all of their clients, friends and family, as I suppose a way to say thanks. Thanks for the business, thanks for the support, thanks for making Talon Helicopters a success.
It's a grand affair, live music, helicopter rides, things to do for the kids and of course food. Lots of food and drink.
One of the items on the menu comes from my home part of the country, live lobster, cooked up and served up to the guests. Its a treat that most here in the West only have on the most special of occasions. And this occasion is indeed special.

Three years ago when I was invited to attend this event for the first time, I offered to help Ronn cook the lobster. The cooking area was outside of the hangar, the pots on gas burners. We had a large table in which to crack open the shells for the many guests. I relished the job as any true maritimer would.
Now many out here in the West have ever cooked or even shelled a lobster. If they have had it on the plate it has been at a fancy eating establishment and the crustation has already been shelled for them. Watching Ronn that first time was rather amusing as he had a pair of surgical scissors to open the tails after they had been cooked. For the claws, a hammer.
"What are you doing!" I remember saying to him with a look of disbelief.
"This is how we do it here in BC." he said with a smile.
"My god man we'll be here all day and night, we need a couple of cleavers"

The next year, I found myself back at the lobster table, this time well prepared for battle.

I'm dressed for the part

Cleavers, a rain suit, rubber boots. I looked the part. It would just be me that year and it was an all day thing. Boiling water, cooking, cracking shells, splitting tails, all to the music of Stan Rogers. Oh I had some help, Brian and Hidey, two of our pilots. They kept filling up the pots when the lobster were finished cooking.

Brian helping out during last years bash

The next thing you know I have an audience watching me whack these things. Bits of shell flying here and there, the heads ( the folks out here don't care for the heads, they're tail and claw people) stacking up on the table before me. It was a spectacle. The next thing I know I have people asking me how to cook them, how to shell them, one person asked me what restaurant I worked at, he thought I was a chief. I guess I fooled him. In any event I am having a great time as I am getting in touch with my maritime heritage. I feel I some old salty bugger from Fiddlehead Cove or that sea captain from the Simpsons.

Whack'n Lobster

This year I was ready to do battle with the clawed ones yet once more. I do love it. Its once a year and for some reason people seem to think I know what I am doing. (fooled them again) This year I would have the privilege of having a special guest along side me for the lobster boil, Mr. Wheeler. His son Kelsy is one of the pilots. Mr. Wheeler is also from the maritimes. So the Lobsters this year were indeed in good hands. We worked all day and when were were done we had cooked, cracked and split 10 cases, that's near 300 of the tasty little nippers.

mmmmmmm goooooooooood

The party seemed to be a success again this year. I understand that there were more than 600 people. I didn't get inside much to have a look. We were having too much fun boiling up a storm. The thing I forgot about from previous years was just how tired I get after the cooking is done. Oh well I have all year to rest up and get ready to hopefully do it all over again next year.

For those of you who might be curious about just how to cook one of these tasty beasts, here's what you do:

Boil a large pot of water (Sea water is best, but you can add salt to your tap water, I find the more salt the better)
The larger the pot the better.

When the pot is at a hard boil, add the Live Lobster head first completely immersing the fish.
When the water comes back to a boil, begin timing.
Boil for 12-14 minutes.

Use some tongs to remove the lobster. Rinse under cold water.

Now here's the tricky part, cracking open the shell and splitting the tail.

You can use nut crackers if you got them or a meat cleaver. Remove the tail from the body with a twisting action. It should breakaway easily. Now remove the claws from the body. You can crack open the claws with your nut crackers and use your cleaver to split the tail into two. Enjoy!

Some people like melted butter for dipping the meat.


Next post will be back to News Gathering, I promise.

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