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Over 60...and Getting Younger: July 17, 2009

Crustaceans

On one of our earliest dates, Lorraine brought along a large newspaper wrapped container. We were babysitting for Caren, Lorraine’s niece, then 2 or 3 years old, now 48 with three grown children. What was in this surprise package?

Lorraine neatly spread the newspapers on the living room floor. She asked this question of me, the sophisticated New Yorker. “Have you ever eaten spiced crabs?” she queried.

 

At the time I was a captain in the Dental Corps stationed in Fort Meade, Maryland. I had just returned from a 13-month tour in Seoul, Korea. We met through a mutual friend. “No,” I answered. “I have never eaten or heard of spiced crabs – what are they?” Lorraine opened the package and there they were – about a dozen dull rust-orange, hard-shelled crabs with a powdered aromatic Old Bay spice seasoning adhering to the outside crust. “How does one eat these things?” was my immediate question. “I have eaten soft-shelled crabs but these crabs have a plate of armor over their insides!”

Lorraine quickly produced a hammer and a knife. “These are the implements,” she stated. “Let me show you how to crack open these tasty treasures.” I watched in utter amazement as she worked her tools and pried open the meat beneath the hard shell. “This is how you pick them apart and eat them,” she advised.

Slowly and carefully I followed her instructions and the darned things were spicy and delicious.

Soon we were engaged in twisting, pulling at the claws and drawing out the hidden meat. You had to work hard to get your food, but it was worth it. My mouth was aflame from the spices, and I struggled ahead.

A pile of shells soon occupied part of the floor. I had just been introduced into the Chesapeake Bay version of a New York sirloin strip steak. It was a memorable and delicious experience. At that time they were about 50 cents per crab. Now that price has escalated greatly.

America has many diverse foods. Spiced Chesapeake Bay hard-shelled crabs turned out to be a delectable experience.