Story courtesy Maine Lobster Festival
Last month we explored how the iconic crustacean got its close-up in our blog, “Lobster in Pop Culture: How Lobsters are Portrayed in Movies.” To continue the series, this month we’re spotlighting Maine artists who have portrayed lobster and fishermen as the subject in various forms of artwork.
Paintings & Drawings
Many artists draw inspiration from their surroundings, including the following artists who incorporate lobsters into their work.
We’ll start with Maine’s most notable painting family, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth — all three artists created multiple paintings featuring lobstermen at work. N.C Wyeth’s “The Lobsterman (The Doryman)” created in 1944, is set in the coastal regions of Maine, depicting a solitary lobsterman in a dory. Andrew Wyeth’s 1937 watercolor “Lobsterman” tells the story of a hard-working lobsterman tending to his wooden traps. And in 2019, Rockland’s prominent cultural institution, Farnsworth Art Museum, featured an exhibition by Jamie Wyeth that revealed a man enjoying his just-cooked lobster in the 2013 painting “The Lobster Bib-Third in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Monhegan Island.”
Belfast artist and educator Susan Tobey White has painted a series called Lobstering Women of Maine featuring women who work in today’s lobster fishing industry. The series, now turned into a book, also highlights Maine’s oldest female lobster fisherman, Virginia Olivera, 103, who still works on a boat and is known worldwide as the “Lobster Lady.”
Native Maine artist Andrew Cook takes a whimsical approach to his art under the name “Lobstering is an art.” Each design features the shape of a lobster, but every drawing is interpreted through a particular concept — whether it’s sea glass, a NYC subway, or an island. You have to see it to understand. Hollis believes in the industry’s value to Maine so much that he donates regularly to various organizations, including the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.
Ogunquit artist Amy Kelly has a fascinating story: At age 56, she asked a local lobsterman if she could work as a sternman for him to maintain her sobriety. She went from being homeless to working hard on the harbor, gaining back her sobriety, and photographing and printing large-scale lobster tail artworks, which are now sold all over the country. After that, she became a gallery owner of TaleSpinStudio.
JewelryTenley Seiders, a Midcoast jewelry maker, got inspired to make jewelry and ornaments from discarded lobster shells after sterning on a lobster boat when she was younger. Her process involves pulverizing the shells with a mortar and pestle, then sifting the crushed shell with a strainer, according to a profile in PenBay Pilot. Her business, called Lobster Designs, features vivid, handcrafted jewelry with each piece unique in color, texture and markings.
Wall Hangings & Sculptures
Appleton artist Eric Darling upcycles discarded lobster rope he finds on the shore into artistic wall hangings and sculptures featuring nautical themes. Calling it his “drift rope project” as seen on wmtw.com , this colorful rope, which would have ended up in a landfill, is woven into scenes, which he describes as “painting with rope.” He prefers to work with old rope that’s been handled by lobstermen and has been seasoned in the ocean for a few years. See his work at his website.
MLF Lobster Posters
Beyond Maine Lobster Festival’s support of local working artists with its annual Arts & Crafts Tent, the Festival has commissioned numerous artists over the years to use their paintings in each year’s Festival poster. For example, Jean Kigel was the artist for the 2023 Maine Lobster Festival poster. Her painting depicted two red lobsters shaking claws. And check out the gorgeous posters from past years in our Poster Store (only $10 each!)
Come to the 77th Maine Lobster Festival for free again this year (July 31 to Aug. 4, 2024) and you will be sure to meet some of the most interesting local artists, writers, lobstermen, and colorful community volunteers you’ve ever encountered! For more info, visit: https://mainelobsterfestival.com
Story courtesy Maine Lobster Festival
This blog post hits close to home as our film was shot in Maine and features a Maine story about a lobsterman! Stay tuned to our socials for some big news on when the film will debut.
With the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike in the news recently, it seems the right time to talk about “the third character” in a lot of classic and modern movies — the Maine lobster. Mr. DeMille, they are ready for their close-up!
Symbol of Wealth & Indulgence
In many films, lobsters are depicted as gourmet or luxury food items. They are often shown being prepared and served in upscale restaurants, highlighting their high cost and status as a culinary delicacy. Movies may also show characters enjoying lobster dinners as a symbol of wealth or indulgence.
Going back to “Titanic” (1997), the sweeping drama about the ill-fated ship, scenes in the first-class dining room feature lobster being served as part of a luxurious meal. In the modern version of “The Great Gatsby” (2013), the film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, you can also see scenes of extravagant parties with decadent spreads, often with lobster on the menu.
Slapstick Comedy Prop
In other movies, lobsters have been used for comedic effect. For instance, characters may struggle to crack open a lobster at a fancy dinner, leading to humorous mishaps. Remember in the classic Woody Allen film “Annie Hall” (1977), when the characters Alvy and Annie have a humorous encounter while trying to cook live lobsters?
Perhaps the most memorable scene is in “Splash” (1984) – when Daryl Hannah’s mermaid character is in a restaurant, leading to humorous confusion when she eats a lobster, shell and all.
Lobsters may be used symbolically in movies to represent various themes. For example, they might symbolize the idea of survival, adaptation, or the concept of being trapped, as lobsters are often associated with traps and fishing.* For example, “The Beaches of Agnès” (2008) is a documentary by French filmmaker Agnès Varda, who explores her time spent in a coastal village in France, using lobster traps as a symbol to represent the various influences and traps that people encounter in life.
*see the plot of The Ghost Trap
Another example is “The Lobster” (2015), a satirical and darkly comedic film where single people are sent to a hotel where they are required to find a partner within a limited time frame, and those who fail are transformed into animals or creatures. The protagonist, played by Colin Farrell, chooses to become a lobster if he doesn’t find a mate.
In many undersea animated movies, lobsters have been given human-like personalities. They can be portrayed as quirky or helpful characters, adding humor or depth to the storyline in animated films such as “The Little Mermaid” (1989) or “Finding Nemo” (2003).
We haven’t even gotten to the topic of lobsters in books and art — we’ll save that for another blog. The next time you see lobsters portrayed in film, think of us and make plans to enjoy the real thing at the Maine Lobster Festival, offering free admission again from July 31 to August 4, 2024! Make plans to visit: https://www.mainelobsterfestival.com
Story courtesy Maine Lobster Festival
The lobstering industry’s work cycles follow the seasons. Although lobsters are harvested year-round in Maine, the majority of our coastal lobstermen catch them between late June and late December.
Maine lobstermen power down during the winter months due to weather conditions and the behavior of lobsters, as lobsters tend to migrate out to deeper waters when the temperatures get cold.
Most people who work year-round can’t fathom how lobstermen can take six months off from hauling and still pay their bills, but if a lobsterman has earned enough of an income through the summer and fall, often they can sustain finances throughout the winter months. The winter break also offers lobstermen a chance to rest and spend time with their families.
Regardless, the lobstering motto is “Do whatever it takes”—and here is how lobstermen commonly spend the winter:
Gear Retrieval & Preparation
By Christmastime, most lobstermen have hauled out their traps and brought them to their shops or homes. Keeping them out of the water prevents damage and deterioration.
Once the holidays are over, many lobstermen start getting to their “gear work,” preparing new traps or replacing worn-out parts on existing ones. This can involve repairing or replacing trap doors, bait bags and other components.
Maintenance and Repairs
Winter is the time for lobstermen to perform maintenance and repairs on their boats and other equipment as well. It’s usually too costly and time-consuming to get these repairs done during the height of the fishing season (unless an untimely engine failure or other problem requires it). But typically, all repairs are saved for the winter months, so that everything is in good working order when the fishing season resumes.
Fishing for Other SpeciesSome lobstermen choose to keep working by doing other types of fishing during the winter, including offshore lobstering, (steaming out to the Greater Banks for days at a time) harvesting clams, scallops or fish.
Some lobstermen can’t sit still during the winter months, so they seek temporary jobs in other industries or supplemental side gigs, such as snow plowing or selling handcrafted work.
As those who have been following the trials and tribulations of lobstermen know, there are a lot of forces up against the lobster fishing industry. Lobstermen may use the winter months to attend training sessions, meetings or workshops related to fishing regulations and conservation efforts.
Find out through Maine Lobstermen’s Association how far they’ve come to protect the industry and working families this year.
When summer rolls back around, lobstermen will be hard at work providing you with your favorite seafood once again at the Maine Lobster Festival, offering free admission July 31-Aug. 4, 2024. Visit www.mainelobsterfestival.com for more info.
You know who is going to thank you for serving lobster as the main dish this Thanksgiving?
Turkeys and Maine lobstermen.
With everything up against Maine’s lobstermen lately (as discussed in our recent blog on the mounting challenges facing the lobster industry) and the biggest price drop seen in years, this is the year to switch up your traditional Thanksgiving menu.
As the first Thanksgiving meal eaten by pilgrims in November, 1621, it’s wholly appropriate to serve lobster as the main dish or as one of the sides. We have included a few recipes below.
If you live in Maine buy lobster directly from a lobsterman or from a reputable seafood store. Or if you live out of state, buy them online from a sustainable fishmonger like Luke’s Lobster or Maine Lobster Now.
Main Dish: Stuffed Lobster Tails
A more sophisticated (and lighter calorie) main dish uses stuffed lobster tails in place of the traditional bird with one tail per person. This video shows you the most humane way to dispatch a lobster and this tutorial shows you how to separate the tail from the body and butterfly the meat.
The Thanksgiving flavors come out when stuffed with herbed breadcrumbs and drizzled with white wine reduction, as described by Cooking Light’s Executive Food Editor Ann Pittman. Broil one to two minutes and drizzle with sauce.
Get The Full Recipe
Side: Lobster Stuffing
Instead of traditional stuffing—let lobster take center stage! Combine center-cut bacon, one loaf sesame semolina bread cut into half-inch cubes, and seven ounces of fresh-picked lobster meat. With sautéed yellow onion and garlic lending a savory fragrance to this dish, a little lobster goes a long way in this comfort dish, serving eight people.
Get The Full Recipe
Side: Lobster Mashed Potato
Talk about decadent! This will be the dish your guests dig into the most. Start with a 1½ pound boiled lobster—and save the stock. After shelling and chopping up the meat, put some of the shells in a new pot of boiling water with 1½ pounds of chopped Yukon Gold potatoes to enrich the flavor. The additional step of lightly browning the cooked lobster meat in butter adds a rich layer to traditional mashed potatoes.
Get The Full Recipe
Side: Green Bean and Lobster Casserole
Lobster is like the little black dress of the culinary world—it can be dressed up and accessorized with just about any food. In this case, with a plain old green bean casserole, it’s not just a side dish—it’s a statement. This side calls for two cups of fresh, sliced green beans, ½ cup button mushrooms, and 1 pound cooked lobster meat. Layer in a can of cream of mushroom soup with the crunch of Ritz crackers and fried onions, and you’re good to go.
Get The Full Recipe
This Thanksgiving, put lobster on the menu and you will be supporting Maine families when they need it most.
The Maine Lobster festival (August 2-6, 2023) will be free again next year. Follow our website for more details: https://mainelobsterfestival.com/
Reprinted from the Maine Lobster Festival blog.
My lobstermen friends have had a weird summer. The weather has been awesome, the catch is pretty good, but everything is more expensive, such as fuel, bait, repairs, etc, and the price of lobster this summer is historically low. So, every year, Maine Lobster Week honors the hard-working lobstermen. (See below post to see what else they are up against).
Maine Lobster Week is a statewide lobster celebration starting September 19 and concluding on National Lobster Day, September 25. Find lobster shacks, food trucks, and fine dining with everything from lobster rolls to lobster Bloody Mary's, to decadent three-course menus, at participating dining locations from Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor. Did you know? Locally if you live near a Hannaford Supermarkets, you can buy lobster and they can steam it for you in 15 minutes to take home. Or if you're out of state, these fine places ship lobster to your house.
I try to do something every year for Maine Lobster Week. This year, I'll be doing an informal chat and book-signing about the film and the book at the two locations above.
The Maine Lobster Festival is ON! Downtown Rockland will come roaring back to life for the 75th annual Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 3-7, 2022. After two years of being on hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are thrilled to bring you a seafood festival that’s bigger and better than ever before. Read on to see what changes are in store.
There will be no admission fee this year. “After a two-year hiatus with the Festival, we really wanted to offer free admission on top of this being our 75th anniversary to give back to the community,” said Celia Knight, MLF President. “Whether you come just 15 minutes or come for all five days, we want everybody to enjoy the celebration.”
The Festival will no longer have carnival rides, but don’t worry. We are offering plenty of “greener” family fun activities including industrial play sets donated by CedarWorks, a rock climbing wall, a petting zoo, an arcade room for the teens, pony rides, bouncy houses, games of chance, and a larger tent for the children’s activities.
A Heritage Tent that explores the history of the Festival is a new feature in honor of Maine lobstermen and the businesses that support the Maine lobster industry. It also honors our historical community involvement and volunteers.
The Festival wouldn’t be complete without our “fan favorite” activities, such as the Great International Lobster Crate Race, the 5K & 10K races, the Big Parade, the seafood cooking contest, the Maine Sea Goddess Coronation, the Marine Tent and the Arts and Crafts Tent, along with exciting new Maine bands on the main stage.
Steins & Vines and a New Craft Beer & Wine Tent
If you love sipping on Maine-crafted beers and wines at Steins & Vines, this year the Festival will have two sessions on Thursday and Friday in the North Entertainment Tent. “We’ll also have a Craft Beer and Wine Tent, sponsored by Dogfish Brewing Co,” Knight said. “We’ll have eight different taps, including hard cider and wine from local purveyors. And, if you want a lobster roll or dinner, you’ll be able to enjoy it at table seating in the Beer and Wine Tent.”
“There will be plenty of fair food at the Festival,” Knight said. “We’ll have fried dough, popcorn, cotton candy, lemonade and other typical fair food.”
And, of course, there’s the lobster.
People come to Rockland for some of the most delicious seafood in the world and MLF has plenty of it. The Maine Eating Tent will have 20,000 pounds of fresh-caught lobster as well as the full lobster dinner, while the nearby The Lobster Café will be serving lobster rolls, lobster mac ‘n cheese, lobster bisque, lobster-stuffed risotto balls and lobster wontons.
Also new this year will be homemade chowders, including a gluten-free seafood chowder. We’ll also have the 75th anniversary cookbook containing some of the most delectable homestyle recipes made from locally caught seafood, so you can take it home and try out new dishes yourself. Get more details.
“We’re also going to have fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday night to celebrate the 75th anniversary,” Knight said.
Make your plans now to come to the 2022 Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 3-7, 2022. We also love volunteers! Find out more at https://mainelobsterfestival.com
Blog post originally published on The Maine Lobster Festival website.
Note: This story originally appeared on Maine Lobster Festival's blog.
The 2021 battle of the pigskin will be held on Sunday, Feb. 7. Even though there may not be many big parties for the big game, it will still be a time to celebrate with close family and friends in your pod. If you want to go all out and wow your guests, here are some of our favorite game day party food recipes.
The Classic Lobster Roll
Nothing reminds us more of summer in the midst of a cold February day than sweet, tender chunks of fresh Maine lobster inside a warm, grilled split-top hot dog bun. Mainers are quite particular about how the “proper” lobster roll is done (as was hotly debated in one of our past blogs). A hearty portion of claw, tail and knuckle meat is mixed with mayonnaise, celery, and a dash of salt and pepper. Get the Classic Lobster Roll recipe.
Lobster Salad Cups
This version of a mini lobster roll is nestled in a Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. Combine the same ingredients as the lobster roll above, but in smaller portions. Serve the cold lobster mixture atop the warm, golden puff pastry. One of the simplest, yet fancy snacks to make, these delicious appetizers are not going to last long on the platter. Get the Lobster Salad Cups recipe.
Lobster Street Tacos
Street-style tacos (traditionally served from carts or stands) have made a roaring comeback on the culinary scene. To give them an extra special Maine twist, use pre-cooked and picked lobster meat. With corn tortillas (three to a plate) as the carrier, top with traditional fillings such as pickled cabbage, radish, cilantro and a kick of fresh lime and avocado crema. Get the Lobster Street Tacos recipe.
Lobster Bisque Fondue
Think cheese and lobster don’t go together? (Lobster mac and cheese lovers will fight you on that). This delicious Game Day recipe takes a bit of work but presents an attractive platter when done. The key to the flavor is the lobster stock, so keep that leftover boiled water after the lobster is cooked. Use a 1-1/2 pounds or two small one-pound lobsters and combine with gruyere cheese, garlic, dry white wine, a little brandy and lemon. Keep warm in a crockpot or use a Sterno fuel can underneath and serve with cubed bread, colorful veggies and cold, cooked shrimp. Get the Lobster Bisque Fondue recipe.
Fresh, live lobster is the only way to make these crowd-pleasing dishes. Buy local whenever possible. Here’s a list of reputable and trusted suppliers of Maine’s most famous crustacean.
For more delicious Maine lobster recipes, our blogs are your go-to source for Maine’s most iconic dish. Be sure to keep this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 4-8 in your 2021 plans.
THOMASTON—On Thursday, Dec. 24, a crowd of 30-40 people gathered in a line at noon, plastic bags in hand, in an empty parking lot off New County Road.
Standing at the back of his pick up truck, Matinicus lobsterman Noah Ames played the proverbial role of Santa, giving away crates of live lobster for free that he and about six other Midcoast lobstermen caught, banded, and transported so that people in the area could have a good Christmas Eve dinner.
During an unprecedented Christmas season, with Americans across the nation suffering economically awaiting a long-delayed $900 billion coronavirus relief package that has still yet to be signed by President Trump and with unemployment benefits set to expire in a matter of days, many people have had to choose between buying food and paying bills.
Ames, with his friend, assisting, chatted with folks as they stepped up to the truck, bag in hand. Given how many people were standing in line, he announced he could only give away four lobsters to each family, with extra to veterans, in the form of a Hannaford gift card he additionally handed out.
Ames started this tradition in 2014. In former stories Pen Bay Pilot has written about Ames over the years, he said, “It’s about teaching my sons the spirit of Christmas. It’s important to learn how to give back.”
Many grateful people left with their bags of lobster, parting with sentiments of “Merry Christmas” and “You’re doing a wonderful thing.”
At a time when every bit of kindness and generosity is coming from Mainers helping Mainers, Ames and his lobstermen friends are an example to the leaders in this country.
This story originally appeared on www.penbaypilot.com
As a reporter for a local newspaper, I often cover lobstering stories in Maine and occasionally come across some very cool things that Maine crafters and artists are making around the lobster theme. I really strive to put a spotlight on the creatives. Here is my 2020 Shop Local Gift Guide for the person in your life who loves Maine lobster and our beautiful state.
The original Lobstah Beer Caddy and Dog Food Station
Joe Hamilton is the artist behind these lobster trap creations and the first in the state to create the lobster trap caddy, perfect for six of Maine's best craft beers. You can find these on Etsy for $39.99 The pet stand, also made from the same galvanized wire that lobstermen use to construct traps are custom made. Made for small, medium and large dogs ($60/$85/$150). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for orders.
Maine Snowflake Ornaments
Tenley is a self-taught jewlery designer who also once worked as a sternman on her boyfriend's lobster boat, (now husband!) Hating to see lobster shells thrown away after consumption, she got the idea to make beautiful ornaments and jewelry from discarded shells from lobsters, mussels and oysters--and tell the back story to each one as it related to area lobstermen. To find her creations ($25/ornaments and vibrant red jewelry visit her Etsy store, Lobster Designs.
Rugged Lives of Female Lobstermen
Camden author Ali Farell's second book, showcases the strength of Maine’s female fishermen, titled Pretty Rugged: True Stories From Women of the Sea. “Fishing is a lifestyle, not a job,” Farrell commented in a Penobscot Bay Pilot article. “To be a successful fisherman, you must devote your life to working extremely hard in very dangerous conditions.”
The book is finally available for preorder on Amazon ($32.99) with shipments anticipated in time for Christmas. FMI: Facebook.
Gourmet Lobster Crackers
In 2012, Pat Havener and her husband, Friendship lobsterman Greg Havener, were trying to brainstorm ways to make up lost income from the plummeting price of lobster. They came up with two ideas: lobster crackers for dogs and lobster crackers for people. The crackers, which are the only type of its kind in the U.S., were named “Best New Product—Specialty Food” in spring of 2015 at the New England Made Giftware Specialty Food Show. See my story on at Penobscot Bay Pilot
You can buy a box ($10) on their website
Note: this story was originally published on Maine Lobster Festival's blog
This Thanksgiving will look different for many people around the country, but one thing is constant: hard shell Maine lobster is plentiful in November and prices are very reasonable leading up to Christmas. Plus, lobster is one of the most historically traditional food sources other than turkey in New England. So choose one of the four following lobster dishes to bring as a guest, or serve them all for your own Thanksgiving meal.
Pumpkin Soup With Creole Lobster
This recipe by Food and Wine Magazine promises a balance of deep, earthy flavor using produce in season (sugar pumpkins or butternut squash) as the base. A 1-pound lobster is all you need, along with dry white wine and 1/2-cup crème fraîche, complete with herbs and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cumin and cayenne to give this dish its spicy Creole tang. This is a hearty, comfort-food opener to the rest of the meal. Get the Pumpkin Soup With Creole Lobster recipe.
Mini Brioche Lobster Rolls
This easy hors d’oeuvre is simply an open-faced slider crossed with Maine’s most iconic lobster roll, so make plenty, because they will be scooped off the tray as soon as you put it down. Using 3/4-pound of chopped, cooked lobster meat, with a bit of mayonnaise, tarragon and lemon zest, this recipe needs nothing more than 12 mini brioche or Parker House rolls with the tops cut off to make a stunning presentation. Get the Mini Brioche Lobster Rolls recipe
Stuffed Lobster Tails
Native Americans and Pilgrims were most certainly dining on Maine lobster for the first Thanksgiving, namely because it was so easy to catch by wading into the shore. But you can gussy it up with this Cooking Light recipe by serving lobster tails stuffed with herbed breadcrumbs and a white wine reduction. This entrée is perfectly portioned for each person at the table. And even though it’s drizzled with a delicious wine, thyme and shallot sauce right at the end, this dish only tops out at 234 calories per tail. Get the Stuff Lobster Tails recipe.
Buttery Lobster and Bacon Stuffing
For die-hard turkey lovers this November, you can still slip in the taste of Maine lobster with this stuffing recipe. With Jones Dairy Farm dry-aged cherrywood smoked bacon providing the salt, pan-seared onion and garlic giving off the savory, and 7 ounces of sweet, tender Maine lobster rounding it out, all you need is a piping hot baking dish of semolina bread cubes smothered in butter and the above ingredients to take center stage over that turkey at the table. Guaranteed. Get the Buttery Lobster and Bacon Stuffing recipe.
Columns and news about the subculture of Maine lobstering.