The last time I wrestled with a crustacean, I walked away with puncture wounds on 6 of my 10 fingers. Even dead, a lobster will fight back. The grocery store tank-to-table experience is gratifying nonetheless, and most of the time, it's much cheaper than going to a restaurant and requires way less pants.
The other added bonus is not looking like a jackass when trying to extract a scant chunk of meat from a shell more difficult to open than heat molded anti-theft plastic (another source of bloody fingertips).
What's my point here? Eating giant shellfish is hard, and Red Lobster is straight fucking with you if you think otherwise. Watch their Crabfest commercial and tell me I'm wrong. Marvel at the ease with which anonymous thumbs separate a crab leg to reveal a giant muscle of expertly cooked meat. Watch as a crab cracker encounters a shell so thin and brittle, it shatters at the slightest hint of pressure.
It's all a goddamn lie.
Here's the reality. You make your way to your neighborhood Red Lobster and proceed to order the "Mega Crab Feast with 36 Preparations of Crab (and two sides and cheddar biscuits," because YOLO. It's like $30, but remember: YOLO (side note: nobody says YOLO anymore, but YOLO, so YOLO). A few minutes later, a plate the size of your DirecTV satellite shows up, its center piled high with legs and claws. Flanked by a mess of gummy linguini to the left and an oversized ramekin of butter to the right, you're thinking, "This is what middle management's all about, bitches." You're also thinking, "I can't wait to shove this crab meat all up in my face, and it's going to be sooooooo easy."
Armed with this false sense of confidence, you grab the crab cracker and proceed to fuck shit up. And that's exactly what you do. First, a cluster of snow crab legs. Not sure how to approach this Rubik's cube, you try and pull a leg apart and hope the meat falls out in a neat pile, just like in the commercial. No such luck, so you resort to the cracker. You center it in the middle of a leg, expecting a clean break. Nope, wrong again. The shell buckles under the pressure until it finally gives, and you're left with a tiny little hole where the two halves of the cracker meet. Total bullshit, right? Then, you twist the rubbery shell in the hopes that tiny little hole will propagate into something big enough for the cocktail fork. This kind of works, but whatever progress you've made is nullified by the shape of the hole, and you're left with a few tiny shreds of crabmeat that don't exit as well you'd hoped. What's worse, you're crunching on shards of shell that stowed away during the extraction process. Not being one to give up, you do the same thing with the rest of the cluster. Your mounting frustration and hunger result in less crab and more shell with every leg. Finally, you surrender, waving your plastic bib in defeat.
At this point, your only solace is that pile of crab-alfredo mush. Call it the consolation prize, a final opportunity to "enjoy" some crab, but since you spent so much time wrestling with the damn crab legs, it has cooled into a congealed blob of fat and sodium. It's a metaphor for the entire experience, and you have become a Red Lobster cautionary tale.
Many others will succumb to the siren song of that commercial. It's hard to resist that hunk of crab meat splashing down into a baby pool of drawn butter. If you're one of them, I urge you to manage your expectations, because the commercial above is bullshit. Buen provecho.
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