Country Crab Crackers

I host a family reunion dinner at my house for my husband’s large, extended family. Generally a catered event, it still means a deal of work and organization. The last one was no different, except this time we had a crab and shrimp boil with fried catfish. Now if anybody’s ever eaten crab they come in a shell, armor. It takes some kind of manipulation to remove the meat in the crab, and there began my dilemma.

We were going over last minute details, when she asked “Do you have crackers?” Oh sure, I entertain with such regularity they’re right next to my fondue fork and serrated grapefruit spoon. Of course not, and my mind started clicking. How were our attendees going to eat crab, and I get out of buying high dollar crab cracker I may never use again? My solution: Pliers. When I mentioned it to my caterer, she quipped, “Do I need to clean out the toolbox?”

Maybe on your place or home resides an easy found, clean pair of pliers? Not so at my house. I’ve often wanted to arrange a pliers concession to follow my spouse around the farm, gathering them up, and reselling them, at greatly inflated prices. The one pair of equipment they actually wear strapped to their belt, never seems to remain there. After this brainstorm I sent a text to my husband and son. Pliers needed for crab Saturday night!

If I expected a quick response of “They’ll be there immediately and how many,” I would have been terminally shocked. As anticipated, the response was more like, “I think I have a pair in the pickup somewhere.” Or the always standard answer “why don’t you just buy some.” The standard response, “Can’t you have the ones you squirreled away in the house?” Since I hope to be considered thrifty and responsible with my money, I urged them to look in barn, cow pens, and the black hole of pliers and screws, the pickup floorboard. I only have one pair I keep for emergencies (refer to earlier post about country woman survival). After much scrounging, grumbling, and searching we found enough to accomplish the task at hand.

I do wish I could say they were all gleaming, steel alloys of vanadium and chromium; they were not. Most came dirty, covered in grease or indefinable grime. We had slip joint, needle nose, one pair each of crimping and locking pliers. I scrubbed, washed in hot water and for final sanitary conditions, I dipped them in alcohol. My motley collection never looked so good. 

When the evening was in full swing, I pulled out my redneck country crab-crackers. There were guffaws, gasps and laughs. My favorite remark that I felt really captured my thought process was, “What ingenuity, Rhonda’s a resourceful woman.” The event turned out successful, the redneck crab crackers got passed around. The most sought after pair were the needle nose pliers. My caterer was so impressed, she said she might consider buying a pair of dedicated country crab crackers. I’m now convinced that women are the resourceful ones. My crab crackers got returned to their original owner, and I’m sure they’ve taken up residence in the floorboard once again; but much cleaner.

Visit my other blogs at rhondashephard.com and rileybanks.com/gypsygirl.

Published on Oct 1, 2013

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