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In 1622 Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Plantation apologized to a new arrival of settlers that the only dish he "could presente their friends with was a lobster...without bread or anyhting else but a cupp of fair water." Lobsters in those days grew to a tremendous size, sometimes forty or more pounds...

The taste for lobster developed rapidly in the nineteenth century, and commercial fisheries specializing in the crustacean were begun in Maine in the 1840s, thereby giving rise to the fame of the "Maine lobster," which was being shipped around the world a decade later.

In 1842 the first lobster shipments reached Chicago, and Americans enjoyed them both at home and in the cities' new "lobster palaces," the first of which was built in New York by the Shanley brothers...

Diamond Jim Brady thought nothing of downing a half-dozen in addition to several other full courses...

Early New Englanders would have been perplexed to find lobsters grouped, as they were by one twentieth-century writer, with caviar and filet mignon...

No delicacy, American lobsters were nonetheless better received than many shellfish.

When not potting lobsters, baking them in pies or using them in sauces, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century New England cooks were apt to stew or fricassee them...Anne Wilson [Academy Chicago: Chicago] 1991 "Lobster, much as today, was considered especially elegant and appropriate food for lovers, being an aphrodesiac.There is a common perception that lobster was considered a poor man's food, and this many have been in the case in colonial New England but not back in Europe.Boiled lobsters were served cold with dressing, not hot and "in the rough," as we are most likely to encounter them today.In the 1840s, [Catharine] Beecher...presented boiled lobster served in this fashion... When nineteeth-century canning methods, developed around 1840 and perfected during the Civil War, were redirected toward peacetime activities, lobsters were among the most popular canned products.

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