Lobster, the emperor of crustaceans, is on a roll — a roll of near-record-high prices.

A pound of picked lobster meat, the sweet, plump, exquisite ambrosia we like to cradle in a buttery split bun, requires more labor and as many as six lobsters to produce — and it sold for as much as $45 wholesale this spring compared with $17 three years ago.

Celebrated Red’s Eats, close to the source in postcard-perfect Wiscasset, Maine, bills itself as the “World’s Best Lobster Shack.” Red’s is charging about $22.50 a roll, after the price soared to $26.50 in May, the highest Deborah Gagnon has seen in four decades of her family operating the business, due to “the extremely cold weather we had. People were wearing winter jackets in May!”

Once sustenance for the poor and prisoners, lobsters constituted early American lunch meat.

“Even in the harsh penal environment of early America, some colonies had laws against feeding lobsters to inmates more than once a week because it was thought to be cruel and unusual, like making people eat rats,” Wallace wrote in his 2004 Gourmet essay.

Read the rest of the article in the Washington Post...