I may have stumped a few of you inlanders about soft shell crabs. Here’s a short explanation.
The most delicate and best tasting crab is the blue crab (okay, it’s my opinion, so no complaints from the readership, please), which is found on the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. The Chesapeake Bay separates the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland from the mainland, and is a huge blue crab fishery. (Mrs. Waddelow lived in Accomack County, right in the middle of the Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and Ellen’s maternal ancestral home. Ellen told me that’s why crabs are in her blood.)
Just like the lobster and all other crustaceans, a crab shell doesn’t grow, so it has to be molted periodically—the hard outer shell is shed, and the crab emerges already covered with a new shell that is soft and flexible. The crab puffs out this new shell until it’s larger than the old one, then the shell begins to harden. The soft-shell stage lasts about four days. Blue crabs grow and molt from May until August, the months without a letter R. After cleaning, soft shell crabs are usually lightly battered and fried, sautéed, or sometimes grilled. The soft shell crab sandwich is a favorite item at Eastern Shore summer festivals.
I think Ellen should put a blue crab on a sampler design. Maybe a little more research will reveal an Eastern Shore crab fisherman in Ellen’s family. That might persuade her.
On the medical front, Ellen had two tests today: an EMG, which tests nerve impulse transmission, and another MRI, this time with contrast dye. So, today she was poked, pierced, electrified, and irradiated. Poor thing! She was really worn out tonight. Results should be ready early next week.
The next blog entry will be about embroidery, I promise. I’ll get Ellen to dictate if she’s still not up to sitting at the computer. If I get really desperate I’ll have to show pictures of the new products. Stay tuned…