By Greg Burchell (from the National Post July 06, 2011)
When a Quebec grocery store opened a shipment of lobsters, one of the crustaceans looked like it had already been boiled and was ready to eat — until it started to move.
France Dauphin, who has worked in the fish department at the Trois-Rivières IGA for seven years, said she was taken aback when she opened the shipment.
“I found it, and ‘Hey, what’s that! Is it cooked? No, it’s alive!’ ” she laughed, and said that no one at the store had ever seen a lobster like that.
It wasn’t a zombie lobster, back from the boiling pot to terrorize bib-wearing diners, just a genetic rarity — only one in 10 million lobsters get that just-cooked look on their shell naturally.
The lobster was named Youppi, after the ginger-furred mascot of the old Montreal Expos who now cheers for the Montreal Canadiens. Ms. Dauphin said the store isn’t sure where the lobster came from, but most of their lobsters come from Nova Scotia, and all of them are from Canada.
Though many customers have tried, the IGA isn’t planning on selling the rare crustacean and are working on finding it a new home, most likely at the New Brunswick Aquarium and Marine Centre in Shippigan, about 10 hours away. For now, it is kept in a tank with the other normal green and brown lobsters, where it enjoys a diet of shrimp twice a day, which staff drop into the water right in front of it.
This reminds me of a Paul Bocuse prank years ago. During a tour of a famous friend and restaurateur’s kitchen, he was alone for a few seconds with the most junior apprentice who was looking at a crate of lobster and at the large cauldron of boiling broth on the stove, gathering the poise to start the killing. Bocuse sensing his hesitation, said to him : Ah, you do know what to do with the lobsters, don’t you! You dip them in the pot one by one and if they turn red, they are bad, so you discard them immediately. The few words of encouragements seem to motivate the clueless youngster who proceeded to throw the lobsters one by one in the pot, looked for the change of color, and verifying that they were not staying dark but turning red very quickly, discarded them all to the large garbage, convinced that they were bad. No need to tell you what color his ears turned when the Chef appeared a few moments later and had no lobster left for the prep!