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9 Essential Facts for the Crustacean Enthusiast

1. LET THEM EAT LOBSTER!

In colonial America, lobster wasn't the delicacy it is today. In fact, it was so cheap and plentiful, it was a staple for prisoners and servants. One group of servants from Massachusetts actually grew so tired of eating lobster that they took the employers to court, where a judge ruled that lobster was to be served to them no more than three times a week.

2. JUDGE THEM NOT BY THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN

(Image credit: Flickr user Alex)

In their ocean habitat, lobsters are brown. (They turn red when you cook them.) However, there are a few notable exceptions. About one in every four million lobsters is born with a genetic defect that turns it blue. Sadly, these prized critters rarely survive to adulthood. After all, a bright blue crustacean crawling around on the ocean floor is simply easier for predators to spot. Yellow lobsters are even more uncommon, making up only one in 30 million. But if you end up with a yellow or blue one on your plate, don't worry; lobsters of all hues are equally delicious.

3. A CENTURY OF MEAT

Most lobsters weight between 1.5 and 2 lbs., but one lumbering beast caught off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977 measured 3.5 feet from claw to tail and weighed 44 lbs. How does a lobster put on that sort of weight? He was 100 years old.

4. SHOWING TOO MUCH LEG

Speaking of red lobsters: In 2003 the seafood chain Red Lobster ran a promotion offering customer $20 all-you-can-eat snow crab legs. The gimmick was both incredibly successful and a mistake. Hungry seafood lovers flocked to the restaurants, where most of them plowed through a lot more crab than the company anticipated. Even when Red Lobster raised the price to $24 per person, it still lost money on the deal.

5. EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEAFOOD, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

In 2010, Red Lobster restaurants across America began equipping their wait staff with computer-based "seafood expert encyclopedias." The technology allows waiters to look up the answer to any seafood-related question posed to them. So ask away.

6. THE SILENT TREATMENT

In Disney's 1940 animated film Pinocchio, Mel Blanc played the character of Gideon the cat, one of the scoundrels who introduces Pinocchio to the world of vice. Blanc, who famously voiced Bugs Bunny, recorded an entire movie's worth of dialogue for Gideon. But during post-production, Disney decided the character would be cuter if he was mute. All of Blanc's lines were cut, except for three burps, which you can hear during the brief scene at the Red Lobster Inn.

7. A PARENT'S JOB IS NEVER DONE

Red Lobster and Olive Garden are both owned by Darden Restaurants, a parent company that's pretty overprotective. In 2010, Darden filed suit against a San Diego T.G.I. Friday's for running a "never ending shrimp" promotion. Darden argued that the campaign combined Olive Garden's "never ending pasta bowl" with Red Lobster's "endless shrimp" in a way that "willfully attempted to confuse and mislead customers." The case is still tied up in court, where lawyers are dealing with "never ending paperwork."

8. OUT OF THE POT AND INTO THE FIRE

(Image credit: Crustastun)

In October 2010, British inventor Simon Buckhaven introduced the world to a lethal device known as the crustastun. It might look like a harmless computer scanner, but it's designed to zap a lobster with an electric shock, killing it in less than two seconds. Animal-rights groups have praised the invention as a more humane method of killing lobsters -at least more humane than boiling them alive.

9. IMAGINE ALL THE LOBSTERS

In 1979, The B-52s song "Rock Lobster" became the band's first to hit the Billboard Top 100. At the time, former Beatle John Lennon had been away from music for about three years, but after hearing "Rock Lobster," he was inspired top start writing music again. Lennon said the song moved him because it "sounds just like Yoko's music." It's unclear whether or not that was a compliment.

_______________________

The article above, written by Adam K. Raymond, is reprinted with permission from the May-June 2011 issue of mental_floss magazine. Get a subscription to mental_floss and never miss an issue!

Be sure to visit mental_floss' website and blog for more fun stuff!




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