Not even the promise of a lobster boil can save me from my foul mood this morning. A deal I’ve been working on for a few months has all but died, and the pressure to deliver a new buyer in a timely manner is a more than consuming my thoughts and leveling a cloudy haze over this bright blue morning sky. Deals fall though all the time, but rarely do they fall through very late in the game when financing is not in question. I shall work to ignore this unfortunate development now to talk to you about one of my favorite crustaceans, the lobster.
I have a loosely strung together dream that someday I’ll find myself in Caribbean waters, snorkeling with a small spear in my hand and an anchored center console boat nearby. In this scenario, I’d swim to the bottom and capture those spiny lobsters, the ones without claws, and I’d bring up a mesh basket to place in the livewell of that still boat. In this dream I think I’d probably prefer to cook those lobster’s over a wood fire, par boiling and then splitting them in half, roasting them over flame while basting butter and spices, while the sun wallows lazily towards the horizon. This seems like a pleasant idea. In reality, some day I’ll probably go lobstering in this manner and catch nothing. The wind will whip, my anchor will give way, and I’ll be marooned on a desolate stretch of sun bleached sand.
This weekend Fontana offers you an opportunity to gorge yourself on lobster, and it doesn’t require a boat or a spear. Just show up to the Fontana lakefront Saturday afternoon and stand in line. You’ll nab a lobster and maybe some steak, and perhaps a bowl of melted butter. Your Lion’s Club hosts have some sort of newfangled boiler that promises to cook up to 300 lobsters at once, so you won’t be waiting in line nearly as long as I did last year. I probably won’t be at this event, as my Saturday afternoon looks to be full already, and my Saturday night will most likely be filled with boat times. If I must confess to you one truth, I would tell you that I’m not a huge fan of outdoor picnic style food events. It has to do with the paper plates.
Or plastic ones. I’m not a real fan of flimsy dinnerware, and if I were to buy a lobster and cook it on my own grill, and baste it with my own butter, I’d be sure to plop that grilled and buttered tail on a sturdy plate that had been fired in an oven. I would eat it with a fork, even if I tore at it with my hands like the glutton that I am, I would still have a metal fork along for the ride. This is why I don’t go to the Taste of Chicago. This is why I generally avoid food fairs. I love the food, obviously, but I’m not a huge fan of the fair part.
This weekend also offers you the distinct privilege to shop at Pearce’s Farm Stand, the venerable icon of Lake Geneva farm stands that just opened for the 2011 season last Monday. It’s open now, and when shopped in concert with Pepper’s Farm Stand just north on county F, this will create a farmer’s market experience that would leave even the Barefoot Contessa both inspired and jealous. In case you’re wondering which stand to shop at for which items, stick to Pearce’s for the corn, it’s to die for. Or at least kill for. Hit up Pepper’s for their herbs and fresh picked clutches of lettuces and tomatoes. Barry Estabrook would be proud of the tomato farming practices they employ.
I snapped out of my dead-deal-funk for long enough to give you the inside scoop on this Lake Geneva weekend. If you’re up, I hope you’ll lay claim to a lobster at the Fontana lakefront and seek weekend solace in the cornucopia of produce that our farmer’s markets have to offer. To that Harvard corn stand that claims they have the best sweet corn in the world, your day of reckoning is coming. And it’s coming next week. See you at the lake.