Monday, August 23, 2010

Crabby

I was staring down the barrel of a business trip that would keep me on the east coast for two weeks when WonderWife™ had a brainstorm and offered to fly out with the kids so we could meet up at my parents’ house for the weekend. I told her that she was crazy and gladly took her up on her offer.

When I called to tell my mom that we’d be crashing at her place in a few weeks she was joyful and right before we hung up she said, “…and we’ll get crabs.” This was a joyous proposition that I had not yet considered.

You see, I’m a Maryland boy born and raised and I have blue crab in my blood. They are one of my favorite things to eat. There is nothing better than a pile of steamed crabs covered in spicy Old Bay.  Admittedly, crabs are not for everyone. They require patience, a wooden mallet, and a certain degree of know-how (that is passed down from generation to generation of Maryland residents). It takes a lot of work for a little bit. But oh, those little bits of sweet, succulent meat that you get… I could sit at a table and pick crabs for hours. And growing up that’s what we did every summer, which considerately enough falls during the summer.

Summer just isn’t summer unless there are blue crabs. And living in California, it hasn’t truly been summer for me for a long time.

Not only couldn’t I wait to eat crab, but I was going to be able to share the experience with my boy. The Bean is somewhat unpredictable when it comes to consuming protein, but he loves seafood. I imagined him liking the crab, and loving the visual of a couple of dozen creatures with claws sitting on the table in front of him. I had a vision of us sitting there, paper towels tucked into our shirts bib style, cracking open a few claws having the time of our lives. I even began to compose the blog post in my head.

That evening, I drove with my dad to the same crab shack we’ve been frequenting since I was a kid. As we drove back, the familiar smell of Old Bay wafted toward the front seat, making my mouth water. At home, my mom had set up everything according to tradition—newspaper on the table, trashcan pulled up next to it and a couple of rolls of paper towels sitting on top.

The Bean was intrigued as we dumped the steaming pile of crabs onto the newspaper.

“Can I play with one?” he asked.

“Better than that,” I said, “let me show you how to eat one.”

The Bean picked up an errant claw as I began cracking open the crab, picking out the meat and putting it in front of him in a nice pile. Seeing me eat, he used his mallet and began banging on his crab leg.  But after a few minutes the whole thing must have lost its luster because he grew disinterested. He picked at the meat and asked to be excused a few minutes later.

It never occurred to me that he might not be into it. In fact, in an unexpected turn of events, the Bean couldn’t have cared less about the crab feast.

At this point I did the only thing I could do, I shrugged off my disappointment, grabbed another crab and happily began to pick it.

10 comments:

That One Mom said...

So jealous. I haven't had a fresh crab feast in ages.

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

Having lived in Maryland and the surrounding area for ten years, I never liked crab one iota. Now that I live in Kentucky? I can't get enough.

Twisted.

FilmFather said...

My mom's cousins and their extended families live right on Chesapeake Bay, so I was exposed quite a bit to the delicacy of crabs growing up...and I'm thankful this day. Mmmmm...

Daddy Geek Boy said...

One Mom...Sorry for the jealousy. If you can, you should.

Andrea...That's weird. But I guess as long as you like it now, right?

FilmFather...Glad you know of which I speak.

Your escalator operator said...

Awesome. As a fellow Old Line State native (sort of), I know exactly what you mean. When I went home last summer I realized I hadn't gone out for crabs in about 15 years, and it was time to end that drought.

I actually could just eat Old Bay seasoning with a spoon and be pretty happy.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

YEO...Mmmmm spoonfuls of Old Baaaaaaay.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

And we can get crabs... isn't usually something that would make me happy...

But... little unknown fact about myself, I have never had crab!

I guess I need to try it!

ZenMom said...

You know, it suddenly occurs to me that I've never had any other kind of crab except Alaskan King Crab. California girl that I am, I guess it's no big surprise that I've never had Dungeness or Blue or any of the myriad other varieties. But you make me wonder what I'm missing. ;)

Sorry to hear The Bean was underwhelmed by his first experience. But I hope you'll try again. You never know, next time, he might really get into it. Something tells me that, with you as his dad, he'll get another go at it.

My oldest surprised the heck out of me when, at around 3 or 4 years old, it was revealed that he LOVES shrimp prepared in many and various ways and (eewwww) fried calamari. I have no idea where he gets *that* from. But he's not yet had lobster or crab. I suppose I shall have to remedy that soon.

BTW, have you seen the Alton Brown's Good Eats episodes on crab and lobster. Mmmmmmm.

Wow. That turned into quite a long comment, eh?

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Shelle...Would be very interested to know if you liked it.

Zen...That's why we made Sprout.