Monday, August 17, 2009

Considering Lobsters, Watermelons, and Jam . . .

This past Thursday found me out fulfilling the ancient ritual of attending the weekly outdoor market in Carantec, Brittany, France, Europe, Earth, and the market was in fine marketing form. Given Brittany's extensive ocean frontage, it is not surprising that seafood plays an important role in all aspects of cuisine here, in which theatre the lobster is not the least nor lowliest of characters. I was surprised to learn that a lobster can survive out of seawater for approximately 24 hours. If you have not done so already, I would strongly recommend that you seek out and read David Foster Wallace's fine essay titled "Consider the Lobster", which provides some fascinating commentary about lobsters in general, and about dining on lobsters in specific. David Wallace was a fine writer, it is a shame he is no longer with us, his voice was amazingly eloquent.
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I'd also like to recommend that you take a quick trip over to Lynne C.'s blog Décolleté where a fine painting of the Lobster King has just been posted . . . and do stop and linger there a while, for the ongoing observations of life in Canada's maritime provinces are fascinating and full of fun. Don't miss her other art oriented web sites either which are well worth a browse . . .
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Not only was the market full of seafood delights, but this pile of watermelon's sorely tempted me too. Speaking of watermelons, hurry on over right now to Lola's blog Aglio, Olio, & Peperoncino, a delightful place to visit anytime, but her piece just posted about watermelons is literally mouth watering ! ! ! Don't miss it. Her blog, which I only discovered quite recently is an orgy of fabulous Italian food experiences. I'm still salivating and slobbering over her recent posts about tomatoes and peaches. . . :-D
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And to close this culinary interlude, these colorful jam jars caught my eye, what better to spread on the morning toast ? Now that is jamming !
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30 comments:

expateek said...

Wow. Your photos are just beautiful. I love the colours. Divine!

Steve said...

I don't think I could ever eat a lobster. They look too intelligent and even, dare I say it, sensitive. Plus I just don't like eating food when the face is still on it.

Patricia said...

I actually made Lola's watermelon desert last night! I did not have the jasmine flowers, and I substituted dry roasted hazelnuts for the pistachios...but it was glorious! One hint, however, when separating the watermelon pulp from the liquid, save the liquid. It is a heavenly juice.

clo said...

Howdy Owen...
j'ai bien fait de passer ..appétissant le repas de ce soir...
que de fraicheur...
elles sont belles tes photos...la première je la trouve un peu cruelle mais bon... dejà on leur clou les pinces ...ils ne peuvent même pas se défendre et en plus il a les yeux bleus....
oui c'est délicieux...mais parfois je deviendrai bien végétarienne...
bon j'arrête de râler...
ya des jours comme ça ...
bises Owen..pas d'indigestion de pastèques...:)
amitiés...:)

louciao said...

Blowen!
Your lobster photo is the most beauteous lobster portrait I have ever seen! The background colours alone make me crazy (yes, I know, I have a headstart on that)!

Sadly, out here, the Lobster King has clearly been cooked, judging by his bright red colour. Or maybe he's just embarrassed by the cape.

Your watermelon photo would make a glorious Christmas card with those vivid red and green hues. (Think outside the rind when it comes to Season's Greetings, is my motto).

And last but not least, I offer up a little piece of wisdom from Mr. Marley for you, Owen, "Keep on jammin' till the jammin's done!"

xo

SP said...

Great pics Owen, looks like a great market. I love the little rubber bands on the lobster's claws - to think, it is someone's job to put those on!

James said...

That looks so good!

Roxana said...

omg, i am dying, i am dying!!!!!
:-)

you know, if you come to romania, you will see piles of watermelons, huge mountains of them as well - and they are sooo cheap :-)

robert said...

Thank you for providing such beautiful colours throughout the dark night.

The Sagittarian said...

I had to stop myself from licking the screen on my PC, those watermelons look FANTASTIC! Not much of a jammer, but I'm blaming Mr Browne for that. Honestly, how difficult can it be to front up ay my place with a guitar and a bottle...

Lobster Queen said...

Ah, wish I had a proper European market near by. Across the Atlantic is a little far! The pics are beautiful!

Country Girl said...

I have no problems eating lobster. In fact, I just returned from a week in Stonington, Maine where we had lobster nearly every night. It is absolutely delicious. And you've got a beautiful photo right there of one of them. Just wonderful!

Marguerite said...

Well, I just love lobster, watermelon, and homemade jam!! Guess I'll have to go out and have a lobster dinner, now! Beautiful pics, Owen!

AmyR said...

Ooh, I just posted about grilling lobster tails a couple of weeks ago. I want to try the whole lobster next. :D I shall check out the essay!

Bill Evertson said...

Breakfast is usually a coffee in front of the computer but a look at the jams has me thinking...

desi said...

oh yummy.....lobster, watermelon and jam..a very nice combination! :D

Hope you are still having a blast on you vacances!!!!

:D

Dedene said...

Put a couple of those homards in a box and send them over by express mail!
Hope you're having good weather.

Alberto Oliver said...

Fantastic pics of food. I think it is a good idea to visit the local market place of any town some one visit as it is more probably to find the real atmosphere of the zone in there rather than anywhere else. I will post some pictures i have from market places soon, then again, you gave me the idea so you have all the credit. ;) (wink)

Rainey said...

Hello there! Well what an absolute TREAT your Blog is! Love it! & I also adore Brittany having lived there for a time within an old city's ramparts -still revisit for those markets & brocantes-such a way of life one gets used to eh?I had been a vegitarian for years until I couldn't resist the salmon any longer !The food-well the FLAVOUR of the food, the drink-the measures! the sea, the long long lunch time...ahhhh
A bientot
Rainey

Karen said...

I just discovered your blog through your post on http://decolleteuse.blogspot.com/ and I love it. The lobster looks to be a serious fellow and the watermelon and jams look yummy but I want those lovely little French melons that are to the left of the Watermelons. They are delightful.

I'll be in Paris in October but alas, the melons will probably be out of season.

Arnaud said...

Owen,
Il manque un pot de confiture... C'est toi qui l'a mange avant de prendre la photo ?
Sympa toute cette bonne nourriture et ces couleurs...

Jenny said...

Hi Owen,

The French do everything with style, even the arrangement of jars show their aesthetically elegant ways.

Poor lobsters, though. They remind me of B-52's bizarre tune "Rock Lobster". Have you heard it? Not the sort of song I would like to listen to the morning after an evening of too many glasses of wine. Btw, I think that the best wine comes from France.

TechnoBabe said...

Hubby and I will celebrate our anniversary in a couple weeks, and I will get either crab or lobster when we go to dinner. The jam looks good too.

Lille Diane said...

Oh I would hope no one would ever put rubber bands on my hands like they do lobsters. I can barely walk past a lobster tank without wanting to free everyone of them.

But I wouldn't think twice about devouring a watermelon. Have you ever had a slice of watermelon with a healthy squeeze of lime, and sprinkled with a hot chili pepper powder. Addicting.

I would also want to try each of the jellies/jams. yes, I'd say your pictures look good enough to eat.

Now I'm off to look at the rest of your posts I need to catch up with.
Hugzzzzzz, Owen.

Janie said...

Must have been a fun market to visit with all the very different goodies.

Owen said...

Hi Everyone, I have been SO slow these days getting back to these pages and answering you all, but you are not writing all these great comments into a vacuum, I'm checking from time to time, between the endless socializing that vacation requires in these parts... anyway, at last, here goes...

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Hi Janie, the Thursday morning market in the village here is a long running tradition, a large number of the village residents and vacation people turn out to stroll through the stands and see what's new, or to pick up fresh produce, cheese, seafood, clothes, jewelry, etc, etc... it is also a chance to say "bonjour!" to everyone; always lots of fun...

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Hey Lille ! Wouldn't want to see you with rubber bands on those hands of yours, it would be tough to play the guitar like that ! Have never had chili powder on watermelon... that must be quite an experience, nor lime either... although long ago a watermelon or two was injected with vodka, and then eaten, which was interesting !

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TechnoB.... have a great night out, whatever's on the menu... we are also celebrating our anniversary, tomorrow night at the Hotel de Carantec, which has a marvellous restaurant... can't wait... the Meursault wine they carry is particularly excellent...
:-D

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Hi Jenny ; no, have not heard "Lobster Rock" yet, will have to see if it's on YouTube, sort of missed out on the B-52s at the time. There are many good things about life in France, good wine for sure, although many other places are making great wines too, Australia, Chile, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Portugal, even Canada has an excellent drink called Ice Wine... and I'm sure there are many good things from Sweden too... I'd love to come and visit... :-)

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Salut Arnaud, et oui, je ne pouvais pas résister le pot de cérises griottes !!! J'ai toujours eu un petit faible pour ces choses là... Mais vu comme les anglais adorent du "jam" ou "marmelade" sur le "toast" du matin, il doit en avoir un peu à Delhi, non ?
Amitiès...

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Hi Karen, welcome, welcome, Lynne's blog Décolleté is more fun than a barrelful of lemurs, she is wonderful... I totally concur, those small melons are succulent, delicious and refreshing. Hope you'll have a fabulous trip in October to France... how long will you be staying ? Melons can usually be found year round here, but where they may be coming from is another question... greenhouses on the Canary Islands ?

Owen said...

Salut Rainey, bienvenue !
So you lived in Brittany for a while ? A walled place with ramparts ? Sounds like St Malo ? Anyway, welcome ! Hard to forget such experiences... we've been coming out here to Finistère nord for 17 years now, I never get tired of it, the sea air and cold water is invigorating, the scenery beautiful, and the life enjoyable, from markets like this one to events like the championship of Artichoke throwing, never a dull moment... Many thanks for your kind words !
:-D

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Hi Alberto Oliver, will be looking forward to seeing some market pix from where you are... need to get back at visit your page, I've been too crazy busy... but will get there... thanks for dropping in...

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Hey Dedene, even better, put yourselves on an express train and come out here to Morlaix to have a few homards "sur place"... they taste even better when on a terrace overlooking the ocean...

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Hi Desi ! Yup, yummy is the right word... and yes, definitely having a blast...

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Hey Bill, a piece of toast covered in jam goes very well with coffee for breakfast !!!

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Amy, well I guess trying the whole lobster is something like going whole hog... or whole "homard"... loved your Death Valley posts !

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Dear Marguerite, I figured you might like this one ! I know there are plenty of shrimp out in the Gulf of Mexico... but it never occurred to me to wonder if there are lobster there too ??? Hmm, Cajun lobster, that I'd like to try !!!

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Hi Country Gal, If one is not opposed on philosophical grounds to eating lobster, it is hard to escape the fact that the tender white meat is incredibly delicious. Up in Maine it is a staple... I was up that way a few years ago, no end of lobster salad, lobster sandwiches, lobster cakes, lobster bisque, lobster dinners... with melted butter to dip the tails and claw meat in... hmmm, am seriously salivating now !!!
:-D

Owen said...

Hello Lobster Queen, was just looking through your site a bit, wow, you are certainly knowledgeable about lobsters ! Am intrigued that you found this little blog post... guess you must be trawling the web for lobsters regularly ?!? Well, stop by anytime, as you can see this is not a blog about lobsters, or even cuisine... it's a potpourri of many things, including life in France. I'm sure you'd love the seafood scene out here at the far end of Brittany...

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Dearest Saj, I had trouble reading your comment, there was so much saliva on the screen ! Gather you like watermelons though... do they grow well in NZ ??? Makes me think of a time we were in a drive-through animal park, and a zebra came up and licked the window of the car, leaving a big slimy smear right across it... Guess you must have some lobster in the waters around your islands too, no ???

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Ahh Robert, you are more than welcome...

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Hi Roxana... hmmm, can one conclude that you take pleasure in feasting on watermelons then ??? Would love to come to Romania and see those mountains of melons one day... Something primordially pleasing in that deep red juice filled fruit... interesting that the religious story writers centuries ago chose the apple to symbolize temptation, for me the watermelon might have been a better candidate...
:-D

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Hi James, it is, it is !

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Hey SP, probably a pretty risky job at that, those bands prevent the lobsters from tearing each other up in captivity, when in close quarters with their own kind apparently they tend to get a little stir crazy... and apparently those claws can exert a powerfule bite... not sure I'd what to find out first hand just how powerful...

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Dear Lynne, :-D
Is that "Blowen", as in : "The answer my friend, is blowen in the wind, the answer is blowen in the wind..." ???

I love jammin' in the morning with a variety of flavors to choose from, so this was a bit of jam heaven...

Actually I think your lobster was bright red due to something he must have observed going on in your kitchen when the Saj dropped in to visit, but I couldn't say what... if you can find "Consider the Lobster" it's an interesting little piece of writing... anyway, glad you like the portrait of this crusty crustacean...

Will keep in mind your thought about greeting cards with watermelon themes, I'm sure with your keen artistic / graphics oriented eye you could produce something marvellous...

So, is hurricane Bill coming your way ??? Some models seem to be showing it could make its way north to the Maritimes... how far are you from the coast ??? Not too far I gather ??? Well, good luck, should Bill come calling...

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Salut Chère Clo... on a bien des pratiques un peu cruels dans le domaine de la nourriture, c'est clair, et à 7 milliard d'être humains c'est aussi clair que la pression sur les sources de nourriture va croitre dans les années à venir, déjà les quantités de poisson baissent de manière alarmante... combien de temps on pourrait se permettre d'agir comme si tout allait très bien... je ne sais pas. Mais, d'un autre coté, ici en Brétagne les fruits de mer, au bord de l'eau semblent toujours abondants, homards, langoustes, langoustines, crevettes grises... etc, et c'est tellemennt bon à manger... à bientôt !

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Patricia, wow, I'd love to try it, will have to open up Lola's page again and copy the instructions, it sounds divine... :-)

Owen said...

Hey Steve, although I can understand your sentiments about dining on other sentient beings, somehow once those claws are broken open on the plate in front of me and dipped in butter, my scruples go out the window, the tender white flesh is delicious. Fisher folk here in Brittany are saying they've never seen so many young lobsters as what they are finding in their traps this year, so the species seems to be holding its own population wise... Now, if only there were a giant lobster species that considered human flesh a delicacy, then the equation might seem a bit more balanced ?
:-D

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Dear Expateek, wow, thanks so much !!!

olivia said...

Oh, your photos are delicious ... love the bright colours in the watermelon shot!