A Reluctant Carnivore’s Nightmare

I woke up around 2 a.m. in a panicky sweat. I had just eaten a kitten in a dream, the whole time crying over my plate because it tasted so good but it was so wrong.

I blame the lobster.

In theory, I have no qualms about being a carnivore. Circle of life and all that. But in reality, I’m more conflicted. As I’ve written before, I like meat, but I also feel sympathetic toward my “prey.” I don’t do well with meat that resembles its former self.

Until last weekend, I’d never eaten lobster for this very reason. Not only does the poor guy sitting on your plate look just like he did when he was living, but you have to boil him alive and that just seems cruel. I don’t begrudge someone else a fine lobster feast, but it wasn’t for me.

However, during our Boston trip Dave wanted to try cooking lobster at home. I was feeling adventurous, probably because I have spent the last (almost) five years convincing Camille that it’s important to try new foods. So I endorsed the plan and even went with him to the grocery store.

But things took a turn for the worse at the seafood counter. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad watching the four lobsters get plucked from the tank, placed in bags and dropped into my cart. We pushed them around the store, we piled boxes of baby wipes, graham crackers and macaroni on their heads, and the whole time I’m thinking, “There are four LIVING creatures in your cart! Don’t freak out! Don’t freak out!”

At home they were stuffed in the refrigerator until lunch time, when their misery was finally ended in a pot of boiling water. I was still determined to be a big girl and eat one, but I couldn’t watch them be cooked alive.

LobstersThen, there he was. On my plate. Looking at me with his dead eyes. As Lee and Dave began breaking their crustaceans apart, the whole affair took on a tone that more closely resembled a biology dissection than a fancy meal and I realized I would not be able to do it. I didn’t want my lobster to die in vain, so thankfully the boys shared my lobster while I enjoyed the rest of the low country boil.

But the lobster incident has been making me think more about my carnivorous habits, and now that lobster has gotten into my head.

In my dream last night, I was at a restaurant that belonged to a friend – the kind of situation where you have to eat what is cooked and act like you like it so as not to offend. On the menu – fresh kitten. I kid you not. We had to go to the area where all the kittens were playing and pick out which one we wanted to eat. I chose an orange tabby.

Tasty, Tasty KittenWhen the meal was served I bravely took one bite and it was delicious. But I kept thinking about the kitten and I suddenly couldn’t stop the sobbing.

Then I woke up. I’m glad it was just a dream, but EWW! It has been bothering me all day. I think somehow the lobster that was destined to be mine has found a way to haunt me in his afterlife, planting awful dreams in my head. Karma, I suppose. We did boil him alive. I think I got off pretty easy.

Lobster EyesTake a Bite

4 Comments on “A Reluctant Carnivore’s Nightmare

  1. If it makes you feel any better, putting the lobsters in the fridge first slows their metabolism, numbing them and essentially putting them to sleep. As long as you move them directly from the fridge to the pot, they’ll be dispatched in about 10 seconds, without having felt any pain at all.

  2. I don’t know what I love more – the picture of lee and the claws or the fact that the kitten picture is labeled “tasty, tasty kitten” in the image properties. I also really enjoyed your describing them in the cart, buried under everything. I can totally see your thought process!
    You have such a kind heart and you are so adorable I could just eat you up!

  3. Oh my goodness I was rolling on the floor reading this! I can totally sympathize. Just smelling fried chicken at the pre-K potluck the other night was enough to make me feel crazy guilty all week!

  4. As a teenager, I use to skin dive (mask and snorkle) and catch lobsters early on summer mornings with a steel snare and then sell them to neighbors. One day I saw a big granddaddy hiding under a rock. When I poked him with my pole he scooted backwards and I grabbed for him with my hand. Only thing is he got his crusher on my finger first and the big guy didn’t let go until I got to the surface. That one got away.
    I still hunted lobster after that, but couldn’t eat one for years. Something about one trying to eat me that cost me my appetite. But luckily, I got over it and now we serve lobster on just about every holiday and special occasion. So many great ways to prepare and eat the lobster, and so little time.

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