Demand for lobsters, for example, has evolved in a curious way. The armour-plated delicacy used to be super-abundant and dirt cheap, he says—so cheap that it was fed to inmates in prison and children in orphanages. Farmers even fertilised their fields with it, and servants would bargain with their employers to be given it no more than twice or thrice a week.As one who has always felt that lobster was overrated (and no comparison to the tasty goodness of Dungeness Crab) I find that pretty funny.
As the crustaceans became harder to find, canned lobster ceased to be profitable. Live lobsters, by contrast, grew in status as they became dearer. A meal that cost $4 (in today's money) in the 1870s cost $30 or more a century later. What was once a manure substitute is now a prized delicacy. What the lowliest servant once refused, the swankiest restaurateur now offers with pride.
Via The Economist