Years ago as an icebreaker during a women’s conference workshop, I asked everyone to turn to a partner and make a list of everything they had in common with that other person. They were given 3 minutes and then I proceeded to walk around the room and have some of the partner groups share. As I approached one woman and placed the microphone in front of her, she simply replied “crabs.”
At the risk of being crude or inappropriate, I assumed these women did not share any gynecological maladies, rather enjoying partaking in the Maryland tradition of eating crustaceans! Needless to say, everyone laughed because they, too, understood the double ententre.
This past week I bid adieu to summer and ushered in the autumnal season in Ocean City. This involved our much anticipated visit to Hoopers for all-you-can-eat-crabs. Hoopers is a very crude wooden building which sits right on the water off of Route 50, and is also home to Sneaky Petes, the best name for a “floating” bar ever! We Marylanders love our crabs and beer and for a mere $27.99 each, we feasted on enough to make any native proud!
The trick to getting your money’s worth at an all-you-can-eat-crab extravaganza is to do just that…. stay focused on the CRABS! These establishments try to entice you to take your eyes off the prize by first bringing you an array of other culinary distractions: fried chicken, hush puppies (a total waste of calories, in my humble opinion!), corn on the cob, steamed shrimp and lots and lots of liquid. But do not waiver. Never forget that you are there to consume enough crabs to keep the rest of the sea world wondering whatever happened to Uncle Bill!! I learned this after years of pre-crab nibbling only to find that when the main event finally happened, I was full and ready for ice cream, a requisite for post-crab eaters!
Why is it that the minute you find yourself elbow deep in crab spices and juices, your nose always starts itching? Is it just me or is there some part of my subconscious that just loves wearing Old Bay all over my face? And I’m always amazed at how many women I see eating crabs in white pants. Nobody likes a show off!
The other intriguing thing you must keep in mind is that the first couple of rounds of crabs are the little ones. (S)he who endures, reaps the benefits of hangin’ with the big boys. So pace yourself.
As the sun set over the bay and the sea gulls loitered in hopes of snatching a few remnants for themselves, we said farewell to a memorable summer, Maryland style!