Day 307 – How to Eat a Crab

More than 200 years ago, my ancestors arrived in Maryland from Ireland and settled on Hooper’s Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Throughout those years until the 1920s, the Bay was my family’s main source of income. Even after they had to move to Baltimore for financial stability, they kept a house outside of Cambridge where the crabbing lineage kept growing right through to my very own fingers.

I only have a few tiny memories of the shore house (ringing that giant bell, Mom Mom’s crab soup with the claws in it, the neighbor’s dog, Butch, coming up to the back door…), but I owe it to that history for the fact that now I know how to eat a crab the right way. Everyone thinks their way is the right way, but I am pretty sure that using a fork is NOT part of “the right way.”

Pinterest, however, has found someone who believes that a fork is an acceptable crab assistant. Some west-coasters, while they may have a quite humorous outlook on their steps to opening a crab, are quite mistaken, but I decided to give it a go their way just to see if maybe there was something about the fork that really helped get the delicious crabby goodness unlike my usual fingers-only method.

Here’s their way:



And here is my attempt at it (thanks to my mom for volunteering her hands so I could snap the photos):




And here is my usual method. No tools required (Thanks to my dad’s hands for modeling the steps for this section):

1. Peel back the apron.
(Oops…no picture…look at the fork guy’s first picture. It’s that Washington Monument looking thing)

2. Use the legs (that you have not yet peeled off) to help you grab on to the top shell and pull the top shell off.

3. Use your fingers (no fork required) to pull off the gills (or “devil”). Also scoop out the other guts that are in the middle of the crab.

(He is using a knife because “they are piping hot and I have delicate fingers!”

4. Break it in half down the middle (I have really small, weak hands, so if I can do this, you can do this…a fork will only smash the shell into the meat and ruin the greatness)

5. Break the half in half the long way (I usually smush it in on itself and then I wipe out more of the gross mustard (which is not actually mustard) and then crack it apart. That’s where the best part is. Lots and lots of delicious meat is in there.

6. Then you need to crack every nook and cranny in any way possible to get as much meat as you can. It may take a little while, but every taste is worth the work.

7. The end. Move on to a new crab. We have a rule in my family where you have to take the first one you touch. No feeling around for the heavy ones…

Total cost: $Less than what we made at our yard sale this morning

*I apologize for not having pictures for every step. Everyone else was already digging in and I was eager to get started. Also, chances are that the only people who are actually reading this are already pretty experienced in the crab department.



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