Saturday, August 9, 2008
How Pennsylvanians Do Crabs
After seven years of living in Baltimore, I have finally attempted to eat these delicacies of the Chesapeake (though many Maryland crabs are actually shipped in from North Carolina these days...) I guess it is about time. I have had a long-standing aversion to hitting my dinner with a mallet, but this turns out to be an excellent outlet for aggression. Still, Adam and I found the whole process overly time consuming considering the minuscule pieces of meat representing the fruit of one's labor. We had a bagful of extras, thanks to the fact that we sent a Marine in to buy the crabs. It is amazing how much free stuff he gets, and all he had to do was serve our country for 26 years through two wars.
So, sure, we realize that the initial gathering to consume crabs was all about the ambiance - a group of friends sitting for hours and chatting as they occasionally pause to smack their food with a mallet and only managing to eat a few hundred calories rather than a few thousand. However, after the crabs have sat in a fridge for a day or two, waiting to be made into crab cakes, the goal is to shuck those babies as quickly as possible. That's when the tool box comes in handy. In addition to pliers, we suggest hammers, knives, and good old fashioned elbow grease.
I was no longer in the mood to make crab cakes by the time I gathered enough crab meat, and I was out of eggs. So the crab is in the freezer, ready to be patti-fied at my leisure.