‘You just don’t know what you’re missing’

Published 1:32 am Sunday, April 29, 2012

On Main Street in the sleepy Maine town of Bucksport sits Jed Prouty’s Inn, Tavern and Hotel. It has been a staple of the town for more than 200 years.

Jed Prouty’s also laid claim to some of the best lobster in all of Maine. On very few occasions we were treated to lobster while on vacation, but for one night a year, it was lobster all around.

Well, sort of.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Each lobster supper, while waiters dispersed bibs to the rest of the family along with bowls of salted butter sauce, I’d wait for a hamburger and french fries.

I sampled their lobster, soaked liberally in the salted butter, but saw no allure. To me, it tasted like salted butter.

“You don’t know what you are missing,” they chided each and every time we visited.

Over the years, I have had aversions to shellfish North and South. Shrimp? blech. Oysters? Stay away. Clams? Fuhgettaboutit.

And it makes it so darn difficult to live here, especially this time of year. Every weekend, a crawfish boil can be found somewhere.

The gatherings are tremendous eating endeavors. Critters are poured from a huge pot, or even garbage cans, onto long tables. Like cattle sidling up to the trough, partiers assume their positions and get to work.

The competition ensues with amazing efficiency. Left hand, right hand, ingest, repeat. It is an act of pure wonder, with a tinge of inherant danger should two grab the same boiled critter.

I do not enter the fray. I participate from the sidelines. I stand ostracized, grabbing an occasional piece of corn or a potato — my “vegetables” — and stand in crawfish-boil shame, much the same way I did as a 7-year-old at old Jed Prouty’s.

“Man, you don’t know what you are missing,” they’ll tell me.

“Haven’t heard that before,” I will retort in mumbled tones.

I’ve tried ’em; don’t like ’em. I’ve tried ’em super hot, kind of hot and night-cooled. Give me a jug of salted butter for dipping and I will try ’em once again — lobster-style. At this point, I could deep fry crawfish in chocolate sauce and likely would have no taste to eat one.

Even the dog enjoys crawfish boils. She waits under feet for a critter to tumble from the table. She eats the tail and sucks the head — at the same time — shell included.

She’ll give me a look. And I’m sure, behind those big brown eyes, she is saying, “You just don’t know what you’re missing.