How I Got the Recipe for My Father’s Mushroom Soup
October 13, 2018
There is Cooking Beyond the Microwave
May 12, 2019
Crabby Alexsandro Rosa de Mello from Pexels

Stories told at My Mother's Recipe

Always Use a Butter Knife

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve sunny days, running on a dock along St. Leonard’s creek in Southern Maryland. I can recall every single smell involved – the sun baked wood of the dock, the briny water, the smell of the wind and most importantly, the Old Bay Seasoning being poured over the latest batch of freshly steamed crabs. My grandparents house was the best place you could possibly be, especially during Maryland Blue Crab season.

A typical family gathering during this time, involved taking baited metal hangers bent into circles and attached to rope being thrown into the water. We would wait for crabs to take the bait and then slowly pull them up while another family member, typically one of the adults, would scoop the poor little crustacean up into a net. To many non-Marylanders this seems like an insane way to prepare for a meal, especially one in which you have to work for such little meat! The good news was that Grandma and Papa always were ready with a weeks’ worth of crabs they had caught for our big days… just in case.
My grandmother helped teach me how to open, clean and enjoy the delicate meat of a crab. She gave me the best advice - you don’t try to open a crab claw with a mallet. Always use a butter knife for a clean break. My Papa bribed my brother with 25 cents to eat his first crab. We literally would leave their house with a hefty trash bag full of freshly steamed crabs for the week. This was our family activity. Crabbing. Laughing on the water, boating and sitting down to a long meal.

I recently relived many of these experiences while losing my grandmother to dementia in October of last year. It brought me comfort during such a difficult time to recall those sunny days and share my memories of them with her while she spent her final weeks in hospice. It is my hope that she is in a place now to experience those moments again as I do every time I think of her. I thoroughly look forward to carrying on such family tradition with my son this summer at his grandparent’s home.

Kathy Livingston

25 March 2019