Treating myself

A few years ago I stopped buying birthday and Christmas presents. In general everyone thought it was a great idea. I wasn’t being mean. I still buy my family and friends presents but generally as and when I see something I know they’d like. Or, if we’re out together and they see something they’d like, I’ll buy it for them.

In my family my Dad was the present buyer. He’d buy throughout the year and always have an appropriate gift to hand for birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas. My mother bought us things as and when and those sort of unexpected surprises were always rather nice.

While wandering around Innsbruck after Christmas, I spotted something I’d been after for some time. So, I treated myself to the implement pictured above. You may be wondering what I’m going to use it for or on whom? Rest assured, it’s not my beloved. It’s for cracking lobster and crab claws. I’ve previously found them in all sorts of material, but have long wanted one in silver to match my lobster picks.


I treated myself to these a few years ago  – you can see a pattern emerging here – at an antique show in Valbonne. They’re not antique but silver has rather gone out of fashion, people can’t be bothered and/or don’t like cleaning it. So you can pick up all sorts of silver goodies relatively inexpensively. I bought some silver oyster forks at the same time.

My mother always carried a solid silver lobster pick in her handbag, just in case…………….It had her initials on it and was a gift from my father. It was something she treasured, along with the solid gold tooth-pick, because it demonstrated the thought my father would give to buying her presents. She loved receiving gifts, but not cards which she regarded as a waste of money. She always said not to bother buying her a card but instead to get her a pair of tights or a hankerchief. No fool, my Mum!

Anyhow, I’ve been hunting high and low for silver lobster crackers. Not that I need any excuse to visit a kitchen supplies shop. I’ve found them all over, just not in silver. Now you may be wondering why I’ve bought just the one when I have six lobster picks? I’ll generally serve lobster out of its shell as part of a dish, say lobster curry or lobster spaghetti, so that only the chef needs the crackers. Occasionally, I’ll serve a small lobster salad as a starter but I’ll crack the claws beforehand so that it’s easy for my guests to remove the meat with their lobster picks.

Not that we eat lobster all the time, though I rarely need an excuse to tuck into one, particularly since I’ve discovered Lidl’s frozen lobsters are NOT an urban myth! They’re also readily available in France at Picard, the frozen food specialist. I find these are ideal for curries and pasta dishes – a little goes a long way. However, if I’m serving it as a salad or as part of a seafood platter, I prefer to cook my own. I’m not in the least squeamish and usually put them in the freezer for half an hour before cooking them. I like to serve them luke-warm, with lemon and home-made mayonnaise. Bibs and hot hand towels obligatory!



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