This is what summer tastes like if you were grown on the succulents foods of the East Coast. This is what socializing on hot summer evenings consists of...this is what you wait for all year.
That is what my birthday meal used to be...before I moved a state away and further inland. That's it right there. It doesn't come any better than that. Maryland blue crabs done the right way. YUMMMM!
Here's one pre-crab pot! The Maryland blue crab, Callinectes Sapidus which means beautiful swimmer. My, when you watch them fluidly glide through the water, you know how appropriately they are named. They're feisty...snappy...a bit mean. They'll eat you first if you don't eat them, so you might as well not feel sorry for the little scavengers. Don't be deceived! There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like the taste of a Maryland Blue Crab. In a pinch, if you have to get crabs out of Louisiana, well all right, but only as a poor substitute. And, if you've never had them...plan a trip to Maryland's Eastern Shore in the late summer or early fall and run to a crab house. Do not walk...RUN!
We love them so much, we've even written books about them and the life-style and industry that has grown around them. If you'd like a good summer read pick up, William Warner's- Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs & The Chesapeake Bay.
In Maryland, we do NOT use butter on crabs; that's for Maine lobsters. Many of the crab houses, heavily patronized by tourists, now put melted butter out with the crabs. But, that's some sort of freak of nature to those of us who grew up in B'More or the surrounding eastern shore areas.
Oh, we won't make you feel foolish or unwelcome if you like it...we'll just smile at you knowing you're not from around these parts and get back to eating our crabs the correct way...steamed gently with rock salt, occasionally some beer, and tons of this on them....
Old Bay! Yep...and if you're like us, in the dead of winter when you're longing for the taste of summer, you find that you flip this can off your spice shelf and put it on chicken or potatoes, or anything else that will hold up under its bold and flavorful self! You have to try this if you like spice and warmth in your cooking!
Along the Eastern Shore, over the Bay Bridge headed toward Ocean City, you pass so many small towns. They used to be sleepy, picturesque places when I was a kid, but now they're growing and becoming a bit too metropolitan to my taste. Still, I'd live there if I could.
You see the beautiful state flag flying proudly next to the American flag. Flapped by the stiff breezes that blow across the water. Boats anchored bobbing in the wind.
I love that flag! It's so medieval, isn't it? That Lord Calvert was quite the courtly gentleman! Did you know that Maryland's state sport is jousting? Yeah! Let's here it for the old ways! The Queen of The Universe is very pleased!
We start them young in Maryland...that love of the crab...the crack of the mallet...
It's all about the socialization that happens over the long time that has to be invested to pick a crab clean of its sweet goodness. You talk. You laugh. You drink beer or soda. You get dirty as you eat and eat until you're too full. And, don't worry that you don't know how to pick a crab. It's our duty as Marylanders to help you learn the ways of getting down to business. We love showing first timers how to do it!
But, don't take my word for it...here's a great article from The New York Times: http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/travel/12crab.html?hpw and read about how good summer can be...Summers in Maryland....along the Chesapeake Bay or the ocean areas.
Summers in The Land of Pleasant Living- Ahhh! I truly miss it and it's never far from my thoughts. Really, I can't believe that summer can be better any place else on earth. But, I'm willing to try. Because life is about finding the best in all situations and locations.
Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka I'm From Baltimore, Hon!
All images today courtesy of the Internet
5 hours ago