Friday, September 16, 2016
Did you read Bill Addison's love letter to Maryland crabs, published on Eater yesterday? It's excellent - the kind of article that could only be written by a Maryland native - and really, maybe only by a Maryland native who has spent years away from his home state.
(Side note shoutout to City Paper writer/NASA engineer/all-around good guy Ryan Detter for killing it as Addison's co-pilot.)
The article dropped during what feels like the end, but is really the middle, of one of the best crab seasons of my adult life. The Bay is healthier, this year, than it has been in years, the crab yield is up and those crabs are good.
We got a semi-late start on crabs this year, since we were away for most of June. But once we got started, we didn't stop.
We had crabs from Conrad's at the pool. Crabs for Missy's birthday at Higgins North in Ocean City. Crabs from a spot in Ocean View at Jeff and Christine's house in Delaware. Winston's claw meat and fennel salad during an awesome dinner at Star Bright Farm (and my own version at home, a couple days later). And crabs from Seaside at my parent's house, with my whole family.
This, of course, doesn't even include all the crab cakes I've eaten in that time.
Every crab I've eaten this year has been really good, too. It's hard to pick a favorite batch, but if pressed,I'd give that award to the ones from Seaside. They were huge, heavy and just really great all around. Plus, we ate them on a Saturday afternoon on my parents' screened in porch, after sailing trip up and down the Severn and swimming at my parents' beach. Start to finish, that day was pretty close to perfect. (More wind would've made it better, but you can't change the weather. And we never have any wind when I'm on the boat.)
That's the thing about crabs. They're so social and for people from Maryland, eating crabs is so often infused with all sorts of blurry memories from childhood and adolescence.
I've seen a lot of people joke this year that when you're from Maryland, crab pictures on Instagram or Facebook get about as many likes as, say, pictures of newborn babies. It's funny because it's true. And to me, it totally makes sense.
I don't remember my first crab - I was very young - and we ate crabs all the time when I was a kid and a teenager, so my memories sort of blend together. But they are, overwhelmingly, good ones.
When you have all sorts of memories and they mesh together, all hazy but happy, isn't that the best? Yes, yes it is. Especially when they're covered in Old Bay.
(This is a long way of saying you should read that Eater article. It's good.)