This section is from the book "Philadelphia Cook Book: A Manual Of Home Economies", by Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer. Also available from Amazon: Philadelphia Cook Book.
Never buy a dead lobster. Choose the smaller ones that are heavy for their size; the larger ones are coarse and tough. They should be perfectly fresh and very lively. The male lobster is preferred for eating and the female for sauces and soups. The female has a broader tail and less claws than the male. If possible, always boil the lobster at home; but in some localities, where it is a necessity to buy them boiled, see that the tail is stiff and elastic, so that when you bend it out, it springs back immediately; otherwise they were dead before boiling. Lobsters boiled when dead are watery and soft; they are very unwholesome, even to a dangerous degree.
Fill a kettle with warm water (not boiling), put in the lobster head downward, add a tablespoonful of salt, cover the kettle and stand it over a very quick fire. They suffer less by being put into warm than in boiling water. In the latter they are killed by heat, in warm water they are smothered. A medium-sized lobster should boil half an hour; a larger one three-quarters. Cooking them too long makes them tough, and the meat will stick to the shell. When done and cool, separate the tail from the body and twist off all the claws; shake out carefully the tom-alley (this is the liver of the lobster and may be known by its greenish color); also the coral. Then draw the body from the shell, remove the stomach (sometimes called the lady), which is found immediately under the head, and throw this away. Now split the body through the centre and pick the meat from the cells. Cut the under side of the tail shell, loosen the meat and take it out in one solid piece. Now split the meat of the tail open and you will uncover a little vein running its entire length, this remove. The vein is not always the same color; sometimes it is red, sometimes black and sometimes white; but in all cases it must be carefully taken out and thrown away. The stomach or lady, the vein and the spongy fingers between the body and shell, are the only parts not eatable. Crack the claws and take out the meat.
To serve plain boiled lobster, arrange the meat thus taken out in the centre of a cold dish, garnishing with the claws, sprigs of fresh parsley, hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters and pickled beets cut into fancy shapes. Let each person season to suit one's self.
2 cups of boiled lobster
Yolks of three hard-boiled eggs
1 tablespoonful of chopped parsley
1 tablespoonful of butter
2 tablespoonfuls of bread crumbs
1/2 pint of milk 1 even tablespoonful of flour
1/4 nutmeg, grated Salt and cayenne to taste.
Cut the lobster into small pieces. Put the milk on to boil.
Rub the butter and flour together and stir into the milk when boiling; stir until smooth, take from the fire, add the bread crumbs, parsley, lobster, hard-boiled eggs mashed fine, salt and cayenne; mix all well together. Be careful when opening the lobster not to break the body or tail shells.
Wash the shells and wipe them dry, and with a sharp knife or scissors cut off the under part of the shell. Now join the large ends of the two tail shells to the body, forming a boat. Put the farce into these shells, brush it over the top with beaten egg, sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs and place in a quick oven for fifteen minutes to brown.
Serve hot in the shells garnished with parsley.