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The best lobster feasts make a huge mess. It is a good idea to eat outside or to cover your table with newspaper or a plastic table cloth. You will need these things:

lobster crackers/hammer/mallet
fork/plastic lobster fork
a bowl for shells
small cups of melted butter (optional)
lots of napkins/paper towels/hand wipes

You should be willing and ready to make a mess, so don't wear the nicest clothes.

CLAWS

Take the lobster by the middle with your left hand. Take the long, small claw by the knuckles (the "arm") and turn it until it pops out of its cavity. Pick the meat out of the end of the knuckle with your fork. Break off each knuckle and repeat. You should be able to snap off each knuckle with your hands. Sometimes you have to use the crackers to bust them open. When you get down to the claw, take each part in your hand and pull them away from each other. Take your fork and slip the delicate piece of meat out of the smaller part. Crack open the bigger part and eat that meat, too. Repeat for the bigger, fatter claw.

TAILS

Holding the lobster with your left hand, tail facing your right, take your right hand and grasp it where it meets the body. Turn and crack the tail out of the body. It should come fairly easily. Squeezing the body with your left hand while turning the tail with your right hand will help keep the body insides from coming out attached to the tail. If that proves difficult, you can turn the lobster upside down and arch its back the wrong way until its tail cracks off. It should come off easily. Holding the tail upside down with your left hand, take the end of the tail into your right hand. Grab the little tail end flippers and arch them down, toward the table. They should pop right off. Take your finger now and stick it into the end of the tail where the flippers were and push. It will pop out of the top in one large piece. This is arguably the best meat in the lobster. It is advisable to clean the trail of feces out of the tail. If you forget, it's not a big deal. You can usually see the tip of it sticking out of one end of the tail, right underneath a strip of skin. You can peel the strip off in one piece and remove the feces in one long piece. You can then eat the strip, which is a delicious and tender piece of meat. Next, move onto the tail. You might have to cut it up into a few pieces, depending on the size.

BODY

When the claws and tail have been eaten, most people assume the lobster is done and throw it out. This is a waste of good food, though. There is a sandwich worth of meat in the body. Though it isn't as easy to get to as the claws and tail, it is still delicious.

The shell of the body should come off very easily without any cracking or breaking. Just pull up on it. Now, break the body in half with your hands or cut it with a knife. All the legs that are in the sockets can be pulled off and the delicious juices sucked out, or even cut open with a knife to uncover small tender strips of meat. If the leg is pulled out of the socket gently, you can break the cartilage around the socket to find a bite-size amount of good meat.

It is usually white and round. If you clear out each socket and the nooks and crannies around the sockets, you can accumulate at least a lobster roll's amount of meat. You can store it and make a sandwich another day or just eat it right there.