RE: Lobster Rolls
Here is what we know about lobster rolls (taken from a sidebar in our forthcoming "America's 101 Best Sandwiches"):
A lobster roll makes lobster eating easy. No cracking of the shell, no sucking, poking, or picking to get at the meat. Just hoist the bun and enjoy: lobster-lover's heaven!
Lobster rolls are uncomplicated sandwiches, basically lobster meat surrounded by bread. Meat quality is of paramount concern. You want it freshly cooked and just extracted from the shell, and you want a good mix of tail meat, which is juicy and resilient, and claw meat, which is tender. Most lobster rolls are made in a New England-style hot dog bun that splits apart at the top and has flat sides that can be toasted in a film of butter on a short-order grill. Some are served wrapped in wax paper, others in little cardboard boats that tend to squeeze the sides together, like the action of a push-up brassiere, causing the bun to bulge, forcing the meat upward and making it appear more abundantly endowed than it really is. Sometimes the meat is on a bed of lettuce, which can seem like padding but also can serve the admirable purpose of keeping the moist lobster meat from sogging the bun.
The big issue among lobster roll connoisseurs is: hot or cold? The cold lobster roll is the time-honored Maine-coast way of doing it: lobster meat bound with mayonnaise and bits of celery loaded into a bun that may or may not be toasted. But in 1929 Harry Perry of Milford, Connecticut, came up with something different. To please a lobster-loving customer at his seafood shack on the Post Road, Perry created the hot lobster roll: nothing but warm picked meat bathed in butter and cosseted in a bun. It was such a success that Perry's shack soon sported a sign boasting that it was Home of the Famous Lobster Roll and his ridiculously rich creation became what Connecticut Magazine editor Charles Monagan has called "Connecticut's greatest contribution to the world of regional cuisine."
Warm lobster rolls tend to be impossible to eat, start to finish, without major sandwich disintegration. That is because the best of them contain meat that is sopped with warm melted butter that makes your chin and hands glisten; and by the time you are halfway through, the bun itself has become so buttery that it starts to fall apart. This is a problem only if you haven't planned ahead and taken your bites over a paper plate or other good catch-all surface from which you can pick buttery, lobstery pieces of bread to conclude the meal.
Today you still find more hot lobster rolls in Connecticut than Downeast along the coast, but the warm luxury of Mr. Perry's creation has made its way to menus all along Yankee shores.