From Prison Food to a Luxurious Delicacy: The Transformation of Lobster
As any seafood lover knows, lobster is an exclusive treat worthy of special occasions or lavish meals. But did you know it used to be considered prison food?! How times have changed, and we now celebrate a treat once limited only for convicts. This blog post examines how lobster has gone from a cheap food source to a luxury item.
Lobster dates back to medieval Europe, where it was considered food for people experiencing poverty. By the 17th century, its abundance became more inconvenient and reduced fishermen’s profits. It wasn’t regarded as good food. Later in history, lobster became popularly served to prisoners, enslaved people, and the poor (even protesting against receiving it as an entree! ); these inmates protested by demanding alternative meals be provided in jail cells!
The Rise of a Luxury Food
In the 1880s, a significant breakthrough occurred as railroads were constructed along the east coast, making seafood transportation much more straightforward. A few restaurants around Boston started featuring lobster on their menus at this time, though initially prices were relatively affordable due to low demand; as demand increased with wealthy city visitors flocking to coastal areas and ensuring it was on their dining agenda, its price skyrocketed accordingly.
Post-World War II saw another cause for lobster price increases: when people began investing in seafood as an investment. Demand exceeded supply, making it an expensive delicacy with increased price spikes. Noteworthy here was the US lobster boom occurring primarily along the east coast. In contrast, fresh lobster was rare sightings in Midwest or Western regions – at this time, it gained much of its status as a luxury item.
Lobster is one of the most costly and sought-after seafood items available today. Prices depend on season and location, and it typically appears on high-end restaurant menus for special events. It costs more due to limited supply and ocean-to-table delivery costs.
It has come a long way from being seen as food waste to becoming an indulgent delicacy, thanks to the changes in transportation, culture, and money that have caused such dramatic shifts in its perception. Today it seems impossible that lobster was once consumed on such a large scale as part of inexpensive meals in large numbers. As its prices rise, it remains a highly desired treat that speaks volumes about American history. Who knows what the future will hold for this unique, delicious crustacean? Only time will tell!