Inviting Writing: Love and Lobsters

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Our theme for this month's Inviting Writing is food and dating. As Lisa explained in a story about three first dates at the same sushi restaurant, we were looking for tales of "first dates, last dates, romantic dates, funny dates, dates that resulted in marriage proposals, dates that were only memorable for what you ate."

Our first entry comes from Helene Paquin of Toronto. She is a business analyst and social media specialist who blogs about her book club and wine.

Valentine’s Day à la Maine

By Helene Paquin

The last thing I want to do on Valentine’s Day is go to a restaurant. It’s full of potential pitfalls. There are the long lines, the service that is too fast for my liking and the atmosphere of being surrounded by couples who are out to appear normal and very happy when in fact they look miserable, starving for conversation and checking their watches because the baby sitter has to leave at 10:00. It’s like being surrounded by insincere, clichéd greeting cards. Nope, this is not for me.

For the past 20 years I have followed the same ritual. We stay in. We treat ourselves to some good champagne and buy live lobsters to cook at home. It almost didn’t work out that way. Our first Valentine’s together was also the first time we cooked live lobsters. How hard can it be? Boil water, add salt and pop them in there and voilà, a perfect meal. Easy peasy, right?

Let me just say something about live animals…especially live animals with claws. They are feisty creatures and will attempt to escape from a boiling pot onto your kitchen floor given the chance. We actually cut off the rubber bands on the first one and threw him in. However he quickly spread-eagled before hitting the water and wouldn’t fit into the pot. Grabbing tongs, we quickly forced him in, covered the pot and waited. It was awful. We could hear his clanging along the sides of the pot for a few seconds.  We just looked at each other in horror and full of guilt. This was not very romantic at all.

Since then we’ve learned to cook lobsters properly. Rest them on their heads till their tails curl so they are easier to handle.

Maybe Valentine dates should be spent in restaurants after all. They hide where food comes from and spare diners from the realities of food prep. That’s definitely the more romantic way to go.

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