Kim in Baltimore packing for the beach.
Summer is officially here. I know many people believe that once Independence Day rolls around, summer is half over. That’s not true, its only just begun. Summer officially comes at the solstice which this year was June 21st. We still have over sixty days left in this season.
And what do we do here in Baltimore when the humidity is high and the blacktop is scorching? Well, hon, we sit in our air conditioned kitchens with an ice-cold can of Natty Boh listening to the O’s game and picking crabs.
We roll out the brown paper or news paper, bring out the crab mallets and knives and get to work. It takes a good hour or so to pick through the steamed crabs and I’m not ashamed to say I can eat nearly a dozen on my own. A good steamed crab dinner is not complete without ears of Silver Queen corn and slices of red-ripe Maryland tomatoes. And, of course, beer. You need something to wash down all that Old Bay seasoning.
When I was a child, Nana would get up early and steam the crabs in a big black pot on the stove. I would hide upstairs because I couldn’t stand to hear the clicking of their claws against the metal. To this day I cannot be around when crabs are steamed. I’m like Clarice in Silence of the Lambs. My sister was so upset about the poor crabs [which were kept iced down in our bathtub] she would “rescue” a few and hide them in our sandbox in the yard. This was probably a worse fate for them. They were definitely easy to find after a day or two in the sun!
When the crabs were done, Nana would take bed sheets and clip them from the clothesline to the fence to create a tent. There we would sit for our early dinner of crabs, corn and tomatoes. It was the only time I ever saw my parents drink beer. Pop-Pop would have the Oriole game on and, despite the heat, it was an enjoyable afternoon. Nana always made crab soup with the left-overs. “Never cook crab soup during a storm, it will spoil,” she always said. I’m not sure if this is true or not because I wouldn’t dare disobey her, even now.
This past week we were lucky enough to have steamed crabs three times. My husband and a friend went crabbing on the Eastern Shore and, fortunately for me, the crabs were steamed there as well. I’ve spent most of my time making crab salad, crab cakes, crab soup, crab dip and crab omelettes. Everything taste better with crab.
Here’s to a happy, crabby summer!
Dear reader, Do you enjoy seafood? What is your favorite summer meal?