Let's be honest, as delicious as they are lobsters still look like sea cockroaches. Would you eat that thing if it scuttled out from under your refrigerator?
They also would grind them up, shell and all, and serve them as a slurry
Lobster dinners are still fairly cheap. Just don't get them at a restaurant. Seriously, for $10 you can cook an entire lobster, not pay $30 for a tail and some mashed potatoes.
They aren't even hard to prepare. Look it up on youtube and in 5 minutes you can do it too.
This was because they didn't have refrigeration and fast transportation.
In fairness, if you've ever had a lobster that wasn't cooked properly, you'd understand why people thought it was garbage food.
It wasn't even that long ago in Ireland. I know a man who's only in his seventies who remembers this from his twenties on the extreme west coast. People who had any money ate beef, lamb and bacon. Poor people ate lobster.
Same with crawfish in Louisiana. It was considered poor man's food until about the 60's.
IIRC in some places in the Northeast US, you could tell the rich kids by their lunches at school. Poor kids had lobster based lunches, rich kids could afford bologna
I actually knew this. There's a museum here in Maine, u in Bath, that was an old canning factory from the 1800s. Lobster was the first canned meat, and was the original ingredient of SPAM (shocking, I know!). They have cases of the unopened cans on display, and they have photos of men holding lobsters 6 feet long. (and not 1 or 2, but HUNDREDS of 6 foot long lobsters!) The museum has tons of info on the history of lobsters that I had never known before, and I had no idea that the adult length of a lobster was 6 feet and that all the little ones you see on plates are just babies! The curate there told us that over fishing of lobsters is so bad that full grown adult lobsters are so rare these days that some scientists suspect there are no more left.
Canned food he said was an invention of the civil war and and canned meat (lobster/spam) was the first thing to be canned and that it was used as food for soldiers on the battlefield because lobsters were so easy to get (he had photos of beaches in Maine that had lobsters, littered all over the beaches... you could literally just walk the beach and fill bags and bags and bags with lobsters! I had no idea!
I can't remember the name of the museum, it was years ago that I was there, but it's definitely worth visiting if you want to know the history of lobsters and canned meat.