Monday, August 1, 2011

When I Found Time to Write...

I hunger to write, and I hunger to eat. As a self proclaimed artist who enjoys the finer things in life I find if I get out of a habit, I tend to fall off completely. It's my all or nothing soul constantly embattled by excess while trying to stay within the lines. It's a bless, a curse, and I often find myself the maker of my own disaster...again, the dumbest smart kid I know.

I find myself wondering what new food and experience to write about. Especially when I find them so meaningful. Perhaps the meaning of food has reached its point in my life. Instead of taking it for granted, I find myself savouring each bite much like I find myself fantasizing to always enjoy life. And as happenstance, my readers have fallen as innocent bystanders saying, "What the fuck happened to your writing...go drum up some business and get in the kitchen"...

I sit, finally, finger to keyboard, and my thoughts immediately fall on my last few really nice experiences with food:

Crab, Crab, and More Crab

My dad loves to poke fun at us Marylanders and our affinity for crabs. He tolerates crabs and actually enjoys picking them. My mother on the other hand could care less. She has no desire to pick, and when/if you are generous enough to give that jeweled backfin, picked in all of it's glory...standing out like a beautiful crab lollipop, she feigns little interest, dips it in butter and says, "Thanks"...

Dad gets a couple of beers in him and says, "I'm happy as a crab in Maryland". After a few beers myself, I get all weepy and think about the meaning of picking crab, the social collateral you have just gained with your hardy party of picking persona. Crab is a religion. It's a right of passage and a cultural phenomenon. It's where battles are sorted and relationships galvanized. The fun of it, you start chugging beers with each delicious dip and slurp of buttery sweet crab. In fact, you're drinking at a rate that will damn near make you pass out if you keep it up. And then your brain says, "I'm sated"...and your hands keep working each crab, extracting everything the little bug has to offer. The beer stays the same height in the bottle, and it starts to warm. Usually it's beer number three for me...or two and a half...and the beer has smudges of butter and Old Bay all over it, the label has started to peel from the condensation.

This summer has been no exception to crab picking madness. The people have changed, but the experiences remained the same. We last picked a few weekends ago at a beautiful spot in Sheperdstown, West Virginia. Picturesque, private ranch on a mountain right next to their pool. It was a friend of the mother-in-law (I swear she knows everyone). We sat in 98 degree heat under a flimsy umbrella and banged our mallets on a spare table held together with duck tape...crabs brought in by us from Annapolis.

And there we were, three beers deep, the remnants warming in the bottle, hands pickled by Old Bay, and glistening in butter...bellies full, and relationships cemented, totally at peace, and Happy as a Crab in Maryland.

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