Friday, April 2, 2010

What are you looking at?

This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, as it was a couple of weekends ago, one of those late winter gifts that put you in mind of what’s around the corner (unless we’re talking about last June. I won’t even go there. But if you want to see a Cape Codder go fetal, try it). After having spent a full day working in the yard, then taking the dog for a walk, I had major spring fever. And I did something decadent, for me at least. I called the fish market and ordered a fresh steamed lobster. Then I picked it up, brought it home and devoured it. I mean seriously, primally had at it, butter running down my chin, the works. It wasn’t pretty. But it was heaven. And here’s why:

-It was a damn good lobster. A pound and a half of sweet, rich, lobstery goodness.

-I’ll go to a restaurant and not think twice about ordering a $15 dish. (Mostly.) But the idea of spending $15 on a lobster to take home and eat by myself seemed deliciously indulgent.

-I’d put in a hard day’s work and was ravenous.

But there’s something else, and I touch on this idea in Summer Shift, my next novel, which is about a woman who runs a clam bar. Here’s what she contemplates:

“Mary had always believed there was more to what fueled the seafood restaurant business on the Cape, a hunger in people that went beyond the quest for a satisfying meal. It was as if vacationers, even after a full day at the shore, were struck with a primal desire for a deeper communion, a hunger to ingest the rawness of the sea––to become it––as though slurping the quivering flesh of a mollusk or sucking the meat from a lobster claw allowed a return to one’s aboriginal roots, to the dragons of the deep that we all once were…”

I’m not even sure I get to the heart of it there. But you get that there was something more going on that night than just “Lynn eating dinner.” There was this native American-like gratitude for the lobster itself, this celebration of the passage of the seasons, this Tony Bordain meets Man vs. Food carnivore melee, and perhaps most of all this belief that you are what you eat. And that next morning when I woke up, I felt a little more of a Cape Codder. (And a little less thin…)

PS. This weekend…steamers anyone?

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