Lobsters are the prime delicacy of the shellfish family. Next time you eat one, consider the number of years it spent growing large enough for you to enjoy. It takes five to eight years for a lobster to grow to one pound in weight. Most people prefer lobsters that weigh between 1 ½ to 2 pounds.

A live lobster is blue-black in color and only becomes red when cooked. Look for hard-shell lobsters only. Often when lobsters are unusually inexpensive, it's because they're shedding, and the shells will be soft. Soft-shell lobsters have less meat - and the flesh isn't as firm.

From the "Legal Sea Foods Cookbook" by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren

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