Save the Crabs?

by Amber on June 6, 2011

Fishing is usually my husband’s deal. And this vacation was no exception. While he was out on the dock, losing fancy lures and catching inedible creatures, I preferred to sit on the beach and commune with the waves.

But there was one fishing project the whole family got involved in—crabbing.

We found crab traps underneath the house on our first evening there, and couldn’t wait to put them in the water. On our first trip to the store, we bought packages of chicken—apparently considered a crab delicacy (maybe there really is such a thing as chicken of the sea?)—and excitedly dunked them in the water under the dock the second we got home.

From that moment on, “going to see the crabbies” was at least a thrice daily event. Tori loved to count them (although her math is a little off), and any time I wanted to avert a temper tantrum, I’d carry her down to the dock and haul ‘em up.

As the days went on, we accumulated more and more crabs.

The crabs in our crab trap

FIfteen crabs, crabbing in the trap.

Naturally, the conversation soon turned to what we should do with them. Or, more precisely, how we should cook them.

“You know we have to boil them alive, right?” Brian said to me.

“Oh, there’s no we in that. You will boil them. I will be somewhere I can’t hear them scream.”

“They don’t scream, Amber.”

“How do you know? Have you ever boiled a crab?”

“Well no, but…”

“Trust me, they scream. Wouldn’t you, if you were being boiled alive?”

As you may have guessed from this exchange, I was a bit hesitant to cook the crabs.

Because, the thing is…they’re kinda cute in a strange sort of way. And they were fighting so hard to stay alive (there may have been some cannibalism involved). I began to feel sorry for them.

Crab fighting to get free.

How can you not empathize with this little guy?

But, of course, I didn’t tell Brian he couldn’t cook them—that’s too straight forward for me. Instead, I presented him with “alternatives.”

“Doesn’t cracking all those crabs open and digging out the meat seem like a lot of work? We could just go get some from the store…”

And, playing off his insecurities:

“If you’re not sure you can cook them right, we could just go out to dinner instead. Way less stressful.”

And the trump card?

“You know, I don’t think Tori will even eat crab. And we’re all out of hot dogs.”

I’m not sure which of my oft-repeated reminders did the trick, but in the end, I got my way. We set the crabs free.

Crabs going free

I think they look grateful, don't you?

Of course I was supposed to pretend that we actually did cook them (to save his pride), but, well, I’m a blabbermouth. And I like to think that somewhere in Mobile Bay, a few crabs are telling their crab nieces and nephews about their adventures—and about the kindhearted woman who saved them.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca June 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I’ve never had real crab and I so want to eat crab! It’s expensive though….bummer. If I caught one, I’d ask someone I knew to cook the for me though.
Rebecca recently posted..Allgergic To Everything


Amber June 7, 2011 at 9:05 am

Someone in a different house, preferably.


Meagan June 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I have no problem eating meat as long as I don’t get to know my meal. I know where my food comes from. My background is biology. But the year we ate Shrek for Christmas…. (I didn’t know the pig’s ne until after I ate the ham, luckily.)
Meagan recently posted..Our garden- a work in progress


Amber June 7, 2011 at 9:03 am

Yes, after I name them, I don’t want to eat them. His name was Shrek? Traumatizing…


Meagan June 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Yep. Chris’s aunt and uncle buy a pig each year that someone raises for them on a farm. Then they have it butchered and have pork products for the year. One year the pig was named Shrek. I had already eaten it when they told us that. Otherwise I don’t know if I could have.


Missy @ Wonder, Friend June 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Ha. I’m a blabbermouth, too. My husband gets away with nothing.

I’m so with you on this. I don’t mind eating seafood, meat, etc., but I cannot think about the process in which it ends up on my plate. I certainly cannot participate in the early stages of that process. Hypocritical? Maybe. But it is what it is.

PS – your blog looks gorgeous!
Missy @ Wonder, Friend recently posted..Look What We Can Do


Amber June 7, 2011 at 9:05 am

I even feel bad for the fish I see flopping around on the hook as my husband reels ‘em in. Can you imagine how much that must hurt?


sara@domesticallychallenged June 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

I’d have done the same. Actually, Corey would never cook or eat them, so it wouldn’t have been an issue. However, yep, they look grateful. Let’s hope the..well, swim? Move? Fast so they aren’t caught again!
sara@domesticallychallenged recently posted..Minneapolis Marathon


Amber June 8, 2011 at 8:38 am

Or at least smart enough to know that chicken does not grow in the water and so should be avoided.


Jen June 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big meat lover but I like to be blissfully unaware of where my meat came from.
Jen recently posted..One of Life’s Great Mysteries


Amber June 8, 2011 at 8:37 am

That is the American way. And I’m all for it.


Amber June 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I’m a weirdo who doesn’t like seafood so I’d have set them free too.
Amber recently posted..Hey- Its Okay Tuesday!


Amber June 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

I like seafood, although I hated it when I was younger. Although if fish tastes fishy? There’s no way I’m swallowing it.


Shell June 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Now I feel a little bad for hoping that my husband was going to bring home crab dip for me for dinner tonight.


Amber June 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

Oh, I’d totally be down with some crab dip – as long as I didn’t have to meet the crab before it became dip. I am hypocritical that way.


Janet June 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I couldn’t have cooked them either. I think you did the right thing!
Janet recently posted..Yes- Im Still Doing Project 52


Amber June 8, 2011 at 8:35 am

I’ll tell my husband you said so…although I think he secretly agrees.


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