Success, thy name is tuna and whitefish cat food. Except that the crabs it lured in were again too small to keep. Just as well – it’s kind of disgusting to see your dinner’s last supper. Particularly when it smells this bad.
So we went down to see the crab guy and bought some. I really really wanted to sneak a few back into the trap, since this was Emily’s last day here, and she has been so diligently dropping her trap off the crab dock and so disappointed each time she hauls it up with maybe a baby starfish clinging to life on it, but guaranteed I would have lost $40 in a matter of minutes as the freshly purchased crabs liberated themselves. Look at me, the crab pied piper, buying crustacean freedom.
It turned into an all-you-can-eat crab buffet, as two of the grown-ups are allergic, the 4 boys under 5 wouldn’t eat any and Emily was so grossed out by the killing fields that she acted as crab sheller, extracting meat from the legs and claws for us to dip in garlic butter but not able to eat any herself. When you’re 10, they do quite resemble giant sea spiders.
They are easy to steam, once you have decided whose job it is to lull them into submission (you do this by putting them on their backs and rubbing their tummies – seriously) and then when they least expect it, whack them in the solarplexus and then chop them in half with an axe. Then you flick all the innards into the sea for the gulls to take care of. Some people like just throwing them in the pot whole, but that takes altogether too much room. The kids (and in fact grown ups) will scream and run around at the sight of half a crab pulling itself along the rocks or grabbing on to the side of the pot as it goes in. Ten minutes in a big pot with about an inch of water – some say sea water is best, but I’ve never tried it that way – and they are good to go. We melted some butter with a few cloves of garlic floating in it, since crab is just an eight-legged butter delivery system.
To go with, nothing more than steamed corn, new potatoes, a token green salad and barley and lentil salad, most of which stayed on our plates while the crab feeding frenzy went on. Later, we roasted marshmallows on the beach before the tide came in and exinguished our marshmallow fire, and Mike made Nanaimo bars (renamed Tofino bars) to eat while we all crammed on the old couch that has spent most of its life at my great-aunt’s cottage on Lake Erie to watch a movie.