How do you eat a lobster?

We had the great luck to be invited to a seafood meal with fisherfolk. They didn't bother with silver hammers etc - but it was so much better than crabmeat. They obligingly halved the lobsters for us. Delicious! And maybe they also obliged by taking the more shielded parts aside for themselves : )

My question is - if we'd had a lobster in a restaurant, is there a technique? Are there recognised non-edible parts? Should anyone only politely break into the main shell? Is it considered wrong to ask for fingerbowls? We made do with slices of lemon. I'm asking because I'm thinking that it would be a better dish than boring old turkey. At Xmas. Would really appreciate any tips! Thanks in advance.

First of all, don't ever order lobster with stuffing. Just plain old boiled on the plate is the New England way. The best lobster comes from there because the water is cold.

The lobster has two main edible parts [tail and claws], and some lesser pieces [legs]. Some people eat the red stuff inside the body [roe, or lobster eggs found only in the female] and/or the green tomalley, which is also inside the body. [It's the liver, obviously found in both genders].

Don't eat anything else you see inside the body.

Make sure that you have a nutcracker or pair of pliers for each guest, and a small fork or pick to help pull the meat out of the claws and "arms." Dunking dishes of warm clarified butter, and wedges of lemon should be set out for each person as well.

First, bend back the lobster's tail so it breaks off of the body. Look inside the body and decide if you're brave enough to try the roe or tomalley. If so, scoop them out onto your plate.

Now, twist off the claws and arms where they meet the body.
Twist off the legs. Set the body aside--you don't need that part anymore.

Using the pliers or a nutcracker, hold one arm and twist it off the claw. Use the pliers to crush or crack the arm joint so you can poke out the lumps of meat. Dunk the meat in the hot butter and eat it. Yum. [Some people strip the lobster then eat the meat all at once, but by then it's cold.]

Next, crack the larger part of the claw with the pliers, and pull the meat out. Dunk and eat. There's a little rubbery part in the smaller jaw of the claw. That's tasty, too, but harder to get out.

Before the grand finale--the tail--suck the meat out of the legs if you can. If the lobster is overcooked at all, this isn't worth doing.

Now pick up the tail in your hand. If you're lucky, you can push or pull the tail meat out in one piece. If this doesn't work, do this: with the red top shell in your palms [thumbs touching] and the white underside facing the plate, squeeze the tail hard [across] with both hands. The tail shell should crack down the center of the white underside. Don't cut yourself!

Carefully pry apart the tail shell and pull out the hunk of meat.
Remove the "vein" [a fat grey string down the middle of the tail] in one piece, and discard it.

Dunk the meat in the butter. Enjoy!

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