Feeding lobster to prisoners in the 1800s was considered ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment!
Before it became the pricey delicacy it is today, lobster was once so abundant on the east coast that it was considered cruel and unusual to feed it to prisoners. Some even considered it along the same lines as serving rats to those behind bars. Why?
Well, the prison cooks likely didn’t steam the crustacean to perfection and bathe it in freshly drawn butter like the chefs of today do. And, our source says that the lobsters of the past were often cooked dead then preserved and packed in salt…hardly a delight to the palate.
The fact is, there were just so many lobsters around that they were considered a smelly nuisance. Many were even ground up and used as fertilizer! And, add the fact that they were incredibly cheap and high in protein…well, there you go…a hot meal for the criminals. But because of the stigmas the poor crustaceans faced, the poor prisoners were only forced to eat it once per week.