Baltimore, Maryland may not sound as exciting as New York or as inviting as the warm beaches of Miami, but it is still one of my favorite places. When I think of Baltimore, one thing comes to mind: blue crabs. That's what Baltimore does best.
Most people prefer snow crabs or king crabs or other variations of crabs, but to those people, I say, "phooey, you just haven't had Maryland blue crabs." Now, I'm not saying king crabs and snow crabs are bad. I'm just saying Maryland blue crabs are better. The reason most of these people prefer other types of crabs is simply because they're easier to eat. The shells of these crabs are a lot less complicated to open and the meat is a lot easier to find than in blue crabs. However, if you know how to open and eat a blue crab, it is well worth the time. In fact, cracking open the shell to the tantalizingly steamy meat and picking through every nook and cranny is all part of the experience of eating a blue crab. These crabs are not meant to be any old regular meal. The act of partaking in a crabfeast with a group of people is a holy social experience in the state of Maryland.
Eating Maryland blue crabs is delicious, but that is only half the experience. They are meant to bring families together, to turn friends into family, and to turn strangers into good friends - it is a bonding experience. The long, difficult process of picking through the intricate layers of the crab and finding warm golden nuggets of crab meat is like a journey that you take with whomever you are eating. Because you rarely have food in your mouth, the only thing to occupy your mouth during the two to six hours of crab-eating is talking. When eating crabs, it is necessary to engage in conversation with your eating partners. In our fast-paced society where it is a rare thing to have an actual conversation with an eating partner, it is nice to take the time once in a while to have a long sit down meal with someone. You laugh with them, you cry when random particles of spice fly into your eyes, you rejoice together when someone finds a particularly large chunk of meat, and then you give that chunk that you worked so hard to procure to someone you really care for. I could write about eating crabs until my fingers bled, but the only way to really understand what it means to eat Maryland blue crabs is to come to Maryland and try it yourself.
By: Dan Jun