Tag Archives: table manners

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.

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