The rumors are true: McDonald's is adding lobster rolls to its menu, a dish that will affectionately (albeit predictably) be deemed "the McLobster." The lobster roll will retail for $7.99, which is the equivalent of eight McChickens (which are a buck a pop), four Bacon McDoubles (which are $2 each), or 24 cookies (which are inexplicably well priced at three for $1). The McLobster was originally released in 1993, but was pulled from the menu due to spectacularly low sales — which begs the question, why now? Is this the cultural moment for the McLobster?
Well, maybe. McDonald's is in need of a sort of brand makeover. In light of plummeting domestic sales (for the first time in McDonald's history), the company is looking to streamline and revamp its menu to appeal to a more food savvy, time-crunched clientele base.
Unfortunately, not everyone has responded supportively to the news of the impending release of the McLobster. The common sentiment regarding the menu addition can be summed up by Jezebel's headline on the matter: "McDonald's is Going to be Offering Lobster Rolls Because God is Dead."
But, let's back up for a minute. Why is everyone hating on the McLobster? I mean, sure, it has a stupid name, but so does everything on pretty much every fast food menu ever. It appears as though the concern about the McLobster has more to do with elitism than anything else. We think that lobster is fancy, and so it shouldn't be allowed to be sold at McDonald's. Sure, we can allow lobster to be humbled for the masses in the form of a classic, New England sandwich, but only if they're sold for $25 a piece at stylized, shabby-chic snack shacks on the beach in Cape Cod.
I really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it turns out our precious lobster hasn't always been the gourmet food that it is today. In fact, in New England in the 1800s, lobster was considered the ultimate peasant food. New England beaches used to be so overrun with lobsters that people could literally just pluck them off the shore during low tide. Lobster was a frequent dish on the plates of servants and prisoners — so frequent, in fact, that a law was proposed banning employers from making their servants eat lobster more than three times a week.
And it wasn't just the prevalence of lobsters that made them peasant food; it was also their biological connection to insects. Lobsters are arthropods, which means they have exoskeletons that put them in a very similar taxonomical category to insects. In fact, lobsters have historically been referred to as the cockroaches or spiders of the sea. True story.
Bearing that all in mind, maybe it's time to stop complaining about McDonalds serving a lobster roll. Maybe we should all just kick back, relax, and enjoy some McSeaSpiders.