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  • It all began over dinner, before I left for Maine. We were enjoying a repast of local greens and grains, prepared by the talented Ms. Anna Thomas (a James Beard award winning writer and champion dinner party host), when I mentioned my upcoming trip and anticipation of a daily diet of lobsters and blueberries. Her houseguest, Madelyn (renamed here to prevent family friction), was inspired by my enthusiasm and decided a shipment of Maine lobsters might be just the thing for her son's birthday, the following week. Pondering for just a moment though, she gave him a call to make sure her plan suited his palate.

    "Oh no, lobsters are so bourgeois," he chastised his mother. "Anything but that!" Deflated, she hung up. "Well, that's that," she said. But I was incensed. "Bourgeois?," I exclaimed, "Lobsters are selling for $2.30/lb this summer. The lobstermen can't make a living! Is buying their goods so their families can eat bourgeois? I think NOT!" I said indignantly.

    A few days later I was at last in Maine and down at the dock, just past the Olsen Farm (yup, as in Christina's World, the Wyeth painting that now hangs at MOMA), buying lobster right off the boat. Out of the sea and into my pot, you can't get any fresher. But I felt like I was committing a felony when I handed over $9 bucks for two beautiful soft-shelled lobsters. Luke, the lobsterman, said they were 1 1/2lb. each, but I've got a pretty good eye for these things and I think he was generous with me. Luke was good natured about it, but I know l'll worry all winter long about how he and his boat are doing if lobster prices stay that low for long.

    Funny how we make up our minds about what's good and not to eat; what's politically correct, in vogue and out. I eat less red meat because I feel better when I don't ask my digestive system to work so hard and I know it's not the most efficient use of ag land. And I eat way more kale than, as a kid, I might have imagined because it tastes so darn good and delivers a lot of calcium efficiently. Can a food be bourgeois? I guess, in the right context it can be--but I'd hate to sit between Luke and Madelyn's son debating the point about lobster this summer.
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