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Consider The Lobster

With Meghna Chakrabarti in for Tom Ashbrook

From sea floor to still life to roll. The lobster in science, myth, art, and on the plate.

In this photo made Thursday, August 2, 2012, Maggy Mulhern, left, and Katharine Mead, prepare a lobster bake for dinner on the shore of a small island in Penobscot Bay Maine. (AP)

In this photo made Thursday, August 2, 2012, Maggy Mulhern, left, and Katharine Mead, prepare a lobster bake for dinner on the shore of a small island in Penobscot Bay Maine. (AP)

Writer Nancy Frazier loves lobsters. She sees them everywhere she looks. They’ve crawled out of the pot and onto the canvas. Ventured from the sea floor and into our mythology and prose. Dali painted surreal lobsters. The Dutch masters captured them in still life. Milton wrote of armored underwater sentinels in Paradise Lost. Lewis Carroll had Alice dance a lobster-quadrille.

But why are we so bewitched by a crustacean that we eat? There’s a deep biology and psychology at work here. One that deserves a closer look.

This hour, On Point: Behold, the surprising lives of lobsters.

-Meghna Chakrabarti

Guests

Nancy Frazier, author of the book I, Lobster: A Crustacean Odyssey.

Diane Cowan, marine biologist at the Lobster Conservancy.

Bob Baines, long-time lobsterman, he is head of the Maine Lobster Advisory Council.

From The Reading List

Gourmet “There are lobster T-shirts and lobster bobblehead dolls and inflatable lobster pool toys and clamp-on lobster hats with big scarlet claws that wobble on springs. Your assigned correspondent saw it all, accompanied by one girlfriend and both his own parents—one of which parents was actually born and raised in Maine, albeit in the extreme northern inland part, which is potato country and a world away from the touristic midcoast.”

Cape Cod “I can recall tugging my mom down the aisle to the back of our local market, anxious to pay a visit to the curious crustaceans. I would gawk for as long as permitted, transfixed by the extraordinary features. Naively, I thought it were the same six or seven “loppers” I was calling on, week after week. I chose to believe they were protected there, like pet fish, in a tank at a restaurant.”

New York Times “A combination of warm weather and good conservation techniques has led to what could end up being a record lobster harvest across Maine waters. The glut is particularly noticeable here in Stonington, a fishing village on an archipelago by the Atlantic Ocean that has more lobster “landings,” or catches, than anywhere in the state.”

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