Saturday night, Neil and I met a couple of friends at a local restaurant for a night of beer, crabs and laughs. Lots of laughs. For those of you not familiar with Blue Crabs, they are a delicacy that is native to Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. When alive, the crabs are true to their name and are quite blue, but when cooked they turn a lovely orange/red color. Around here, we steam them (the only way to do it) and load them up with tons of salty Old Bay Seasoning. So much seasoning, in fact, that your hands (and shirt and pants and surrounding floor) are coated in the vibrantly orange stuff. It is not an overstatement to say that by the end of the night, you feel like you will never be able to get it all off of you.
I had never even heard of this style of crab before I moved to Maryland, and it took me years to develop the taste, but now I love them. Back home in Kansas, if you say crabs, you mean Alaskan King Crab Legs, of the Deadliest Catch variety. I still love those and the amount of meat you get out of them versus the Blue Crab, which is a lot of work for a very little meat*, is awfully appealing, but a night out eating blue crabs is an Experience.
It took the four of us three hours to pick our way through two and a half dozen crabs, but I wouldn't have traded a minute of that because during that time we traded stories, told jokes and caught up on each others lives. It's about more than just the food.
Sometimes easy isn't best.
* An experienced picker produces less than one ounce of meat from the average crab.
** A rare photograph of me to be posted here. I swear I don't keep them out due to some sense of modesty or desire for anonymity as much as that I am generally the one holding the camera so there just aren't many pictures of me. I actually put on make-up for this little outing. Don't hold back, you can tell me how pretty I look. No really, you can tell me. It's okay, don't be shy.