Sunday, May 08, 2005


I've probably already written about this but I'm going to write about it again because it still pisses me off.


Stinking crabs, they irritate me. In fact, they make my downright crabby. I am one with the crab when it comes to being crabby.

OK, here's the beef, er, crab leg or whatever. Chesapeake Bay, late summer. Soft shell crabs are in season. Our friends say "Oh, you must have the soft shell crabs down at the marina. Rally you must!" OK, whatever, I say, and we set off for a day at the aquarium and marina.

About lunchtime we pull into a place on the water and there's a chalkboard sign out front that says "Fresh Soft Shell Crab Lunch Special." What a deal, just what the doctor ordered.

We go in.

The waiter comes by, Adrian, and says "Fresh soft shell crab is our lunch special." Great, I say, I'll have that. My very wise wife opts for the club sandwich. Coward, I think.

My lunch arrives and basically there's this fried crab on a piece of toast. OK, well, I've eaten crab before. You crack this and that and the meat's here and there and, yeah, it's a little work but well worth it in the end.

So, I crack and I peal and I split and I gnaw and I suck and mostly I suck because this is the most skinny-ass crab I ever had. It's like the Paris Hilton of crabs and I can tell you that I'm tired of crackin' and suckin'. Much like the Hilton video, so I'm led to believe.

In the end I have a plateful of scraps, not much to call "lunch" and my wife (kudos to the correct choice) is asking me if I can help her finish the club sandwich. I devour the turkey/ham/bacon morsel, eat the lettuce and parsley and lick the plate.

On our way out of the restaurant I observe a man being served the softshell crab special. This ought to be rich, I think, just as he slaps a piece of toast on top of the crab and proceeds to eat the whole thing.

You eat the whole thing? What? Just chomp it down soft shell and all?

Yep. That's the drill. They must have been killing themselves laughing as I pealed that crab inch by inch, cursing the whole time.

Well, that brings us to today and on the menu are crab cakes.

I made them with fresh crab, mayo, lemon, breadcrumbs, eggs and a little dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Chilled until firm then sauted in butter, they were the perfect Mother's Day treat. Champagne helped, but champagne always helps!

Not so crabby in the end.


Sparrow said...

I can't believe those who encouraged you to try a soft shell didn't tell you how to eat one. I've lived in Maryland almost all of my life, and I still refuse to eat those things, though.

Anonymous said...

i've always enjoyed blue crab, and was devastated to find out that soft shell is just blue crabs that are caught when molting, when their defenses are down (not sporting if you ask me)....I couldn't even eat it, the whole sad body just laying there on the plate, just sorta telling me "THEY GOT ME WHEN I WAS DOWN, MAN!" And the concept of eating it, soft shell and all? Ugh.

Give me food without the face anyday. Crabs LEGs, canned crab, crab patties, whatever, but not for god's sake, whole.