Tag Archives: hard crabs


22 Jul

Today is my birthday, and The Squire offered to take me anyplace my little heart desired for lunch or dinner. Since we prefer to eat our main meal in the middle of the day, I originally suggested going to a locally owned Oriental restaurant, but late yesterday I decided what I REALLY  wanted was to go out for hard crabs.

And so we did.

There is a nice place not too far from here that had mediums crabs for $45 a dozen, hard crabsand when you consider that will feed two people it’s not a bad deal. Two ears of corn and two bottles of O’Doul’s probably didn’t come to any more than a nice meal at a really good restaurant, and we both enjoyed every minute of it. And we had three left over for later.

While we ate, we reminisced about other times we had eaten crabs.  When The Squire first came to Baltimore, fresh from the mountains of North Carolina he’d hardly ever eaten seafood, never mind hard crabs or oysters.  His coworkers invited him out for dinner one Friday, and he asked them to order for him while he went to wash his hands. When he got back to the table he discovered they’d gotten him a soft crab sandwich. All elbows sticking out from under the bread, and when he lifted the lid his lunch was staring back at him.

When we were going together we ran into some friends at the store; they bought two dozen crabs and met us back at my apartment. I showed The Squire how to eat a crab and told him I’d fix him a sandwich. We all got to talking and it suddenly dawned on me I’d never gotten him something to eat. I looked at the pile of shells in front of him and exclaimed, “How many of those things did you eat, anyway?”

“Six. And you’re no more surprised than I am.”

He’s never looked back.

We went to a crab feast held by my sister’s church. I don’t remember the price, but everybody got six crabs for their money. Six crabs in a brown paper sack.  That was it. Nothing else, and I mean nothing.  We were reduced to cleaning the crabs with my sister’s embroidery scissors and The Squire’s pen knife. Somebody took pity on us and gave us a fistful of napkins, and an extra mallet.

For a while I was allergic to ingested iodine; we had company from out of town who wanted carbs, so I went along, intending to have French fries or something. They suggested I take some Benadryl before we leave to prevent breaking out in hives, so I could eat with them, which I did. The next morning I was so dizzy I sat at the dining room table with my head in my hands to keep it from floating away. I pressed my elbows on the table to keep it from doing the same!

Crabs are delicious, and eating them breaks every possible rule of good etiquette. Newspaper for a tablecloth, mallet and knife instead of a knife and a fork, you wash your hands in a bucket of water, and put your elbows on the table. It’s not rude to ask the host what he paid for the meal; it’s pretty much understood somebody will ask.

If you ever come to Baltimore we’ll try to take you out for crabs. Even if it isn’t my birthday.



How Much?

23 Jul

Yesterday was my birthday, and The Squire wanted to take me out to dinner today. (Got our wires crossed yesterday.) He’d asked me where I wanted to go before we left the house this morning, and about halfway to church I suggested we go to a local restaurant and have hard crabs. He burst out laughing, and said he was just about to open his mouth and suggest exactly that.

Great minds and such.

hard crabs

stock photo

Well, now. Hard crabs are a Maryland delicacy, and eating them defies every possible rule of etiquette.  You spread the table with newspapers or brown paper instead of a cloth, eat with your elbows on the table, use paper towels instead of napkins, paring knives and mallets instead of a knife and fork, and wash your hands in a bucket of warm water. It is also NOT a breach of manners to ask the host what he paid for the meal – it’s assumed somebody will inquire.

We came home, changed into crab-eatin’ clothes and went off in search of sustenance.

Crabs are never inexpensive, but when the waitress told us they were $75 for large and $90 for jumbo, we inhaled so far we nearly fell over backwards. That is the price for a DOZEN crabs, my friends! Not the whole bugeye worth!

We decided to go for the buffet, instead.

Oddly enough, neither of my grandmothers would eat crabs. Nana, who was born in Australia, thought they were “nasty little things”. Grandmother, who was born and raised in Baltimore, considered them “poor food”.

During the Depression, they used to go crabbing in Baltimore’s harbor, just to have something to eat. Heaven knows, I wouldn’t eat anything that came out of that harbor, today!

Of course, back before we overfished them, lobsters were so plentiful that they were fed to apprentices.