In coastal areas close to where lobsters are caught, this seafood is not prohibitively expensive, and lobsters are often considered a summertime picnic treat. However, shipping costs for the living animals are high, so elsewhere lobsters are considered an elegant, formal, showy, and extravagant seafood. Shrimp may be considered a less expensive and difficult substitute.
When messy eating is acceptable, lobster is served in the shell. Tools, such as pliers and hammers, should be provided to open the brittle shells. For those who desire the distinctive taste of lobster without the mess, there are recipes for prepared lobster meat, such as Lobster Newberg.
Purchase an actively moving live lobster. Smaller lobsters are a better deal, but extravagant dining may demand the largest specimen available. Remove the rubber bands just before placing the lobster in water. Otherwise, the rubber bands may leave a taste on the lobster. Place the lobsters head first in a large pot of rapidly boiling (optionally salted) water, and allow the water to return to a boil. Boil for ten minutes for the first pound, and around 3 minutes for each additional pound. The lobster can be considered done when its antennae can be easily pulled from the body. Most of the meat is in the tail and large claws. Additional meat can be found in the smaller legs and near where the legs join the body. The soft white deposits are coagulated protein.
- Side note - The hissing sound while cooking the lobster is not the lobster screaming, but is vapor escaping from under the creature's hard shell. Some debate arises as to whether the lobster feels any pain. A CBS news story  reported that a group from Norway studied that the lobster's brains are too small to process any feelings of pain.