Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cockroaches of the Sea:How the Lawrence Men Will Do Anything for Dinner

I believe it is my nephew, Aaron, that coined the phrase, "Cockroaches of the Sea," for those strange, yet tasty, things we call crab. With the Puget Sound literally in their backyard, my sister in law and brother in law, drop the crab pots and hope that no one steals their haul. It starts out easy enough, you load the crab pot with some type of bait that the crab will flock to eat, and then they are caught in the trap. In most cases, the crab really seem to go for turkey legs, raw. Very odd... You put the pots in the boat and set out to put them somewhere where you can see them bobbing and then you wait. A crab pot, for those of you that don't know, and I didn't til I went to Seattle, is not a pot at all. I assumed, incorrectly, that it was a cylindrical object possibly made of clay?!? In actuality, it is a metal, mesh looking cage with a hole for the crab to get in. I think that it has a nice little area for the bait, but I may well be wrong. Ok, so you are in the boat, you go out a little ways and throw them in and wait. A lot of people throw their pots out. A lot of people will pull up at your pot, dump the crab in their boat and then take off. This is not a good thing as witnessed on our last trip. Let's just say that someone was rowing nearby the pots and from way high up, apparently looked like they were trying to get our haul. There was yelling and mention of reporting boats to the proper authorities. I'm not really sure what authorities respond to a crab heist but my guess is they respond with guns drawn and the order to, "Drop those crab or I will shoot!" Anyway, one would think that dropping the pots one morning and checking them in a few hours, a couple of different times of day would be speedy and sufficient. Well, you haven't met the Lawrence's.

The mention of boats and crab makes the male Lawrence's salivate with the anticipation of a feast. At Thanksgiving last year, they donned several layers of winter gear, took the boat out of winter storage and dropped the pots, like it was a warm summer day. There were lots of wet clothes and cold men. We had crab, one of which I actually sacrificed for the sake of dining enjoyment. I might make mention of this later, but maybe not, as it is not for the faint of heart. Anyway, our summer trip started out much like our Thanksgiving trip. Since I have no boat knowledge, I am going to give my opinion of what happened, although the use of technical boating jargon will be avoided. My brother in law pulled the truck near the boat trailer. I guess you have to attach the boat to the hitch with a winch that requires cranking. The crank broke, leaving my husband and 18year old nephew having to manually put the boat on the hitch. I don't think that boats are light, but I may be wrong. Turns out the battery was dead so then the motor wouldn't start once they got the boat in the water. A new battery was attached and the boys were off to drop off the pots. It was a go for crab!

Ok, well, not exactly. At one point, the tide was coming in and there were whitecaps. Turns out that tying the boat to the bouy wasn't going to be that easy. Then, there was this little matter of getting everyone into the dinghy. That is a rowboat, come to find out. Four big guys in a little boat, is quite an interesting feat. I'm not sure they actually did this, though. Apparently, they decided swimming back to the shore in 48 degree water made more sense. Shrinkage be damned! Fearing for the fate of the "Lawrence's Deadliest Catch" crew, I don't truly know all of the gory details surrounding this last foray and I don't think that I want to know. They all returned safely, with very low body temperatures. After some showers, hot chocolate with a dash of Bailey's, they seemed somewhat recovered.

Soon, it was time to haul the catch up the 7000 stairs from the beach to the house. There aren't really 7000 stairs, but there are a bunch. The crab get lined up, whacked and thrown in the boiling water. They are screaming and flipping the crab bird at us through the entire process. I am making this part up, of course, they can't flip the bird. Ok, ok, no one call PETA on me. For the record, I didn't hear any screaming.

Actually eating the "cockroach of the sea" isn't an easy task. There are many tools involved. I saw nutcrackers, small little crab forks, and sometimes kitchen shears. My nephew, just uses his teeth! Removing all of the meat can be time consuming and messy. It is worth it, though. There is nothing better than dipping freshly caught crab in hot butter. A new Coach bag is pretty close, though. Anyway, at Thanksgiving, my nephew cracked me a fine pile of crab and I didn't even have to slip him $20. Thanks, Michael!

All in all the crabbing went well. There were the usual scrapes, attacks from rabid barnacles and a lost oar, but no one was seriously injured. No trip to Seattle would be complete without a crabbing adventure. Maybe with practice, they will get better, but what is an adventure without a little blood, sweat and tears?

1 comment:

Aaron Lenentine said...

Or Sea Swine... basically, you can attach any combination of words that ends up leaving you with the mental image of bottom feeding filth eaters. Those things are nasty!!

I saw a portion of the Discovery Channel's Blue Planet where some whale had diead and sunk to the bottom. It was a feast from the heavens for those nasty little creatures!

I always knew that's what they ate and have eaten crab only because my dad is a magician with the stuff, but after seeing them dine on the crap that every one else in the sea just dodged as it plunged to the bottom...?! Seriously. Yuck.

As for the weathered sea captains, those two are the next rising stars of The Deadliest Catch! It’s like watching a monkey try to mate with a football: painful; hilarious; and ultimately leaves you with a feeling of guilt for having witnessed such a thing and not been able to assist in some manner.