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For the love of Crab
Crab is to Trinidad and Tobago, what the flying fish is to Barbados. It’s loved, famous, comforting and delicious. Yet, sadly, I am allergic to the tasty beastie. It’s hard to write about an ingredient you love that doesn’t love you back, and chooses instead to have your body rebelling in its attempts to defend itself from its tasty advances. (Yes, Mr. Crab... I’m talking about you!) I didn’t realise it as a teen though, when my first introductions to crab and callaloo were from my best friend Carla’s mother Miss Shirley, who would make a wicked Sunday Lunch of the aforementioned crab, stewed red beans, macaroni pie, potato salad, barbecued chicken, rice and fresh salad. I would bite into my crab legs with gusto, slurping and sucking away until no more flesh was left. Within minutes, my tongue would swell and my skin would itch, and I thought that was normal. The older I got, the worse it became.
Even in my adulthood I can no longer eat it without suffering, and it hurts me in more ways than one. A Trinidad Blue Land crab destined for the pot can be found sold on the street or at the local market, tied up in dried grass stalks, looking like little armoured captives. As a rule, there will be at least one of them making an escape, brandishing its giant gundee to snap your digits off if you get too close. All things being equal, a crab dish is always considered special, despite where it may be sourced. When it comes to the commercially sold crabs, you only have to go to your nearest grocery to find the tinned version, cleaned and de shelled for your convenience. Then there’s the “other crab” that looks like a candy cane with its red and white colouration, this time, mass produced for your convenience. And we love it so... As such, this week’s Eye Food is walking on the crabby side of the pot with two tasty dishes that use both types of crab meat. Try out our Curried Crab and Easy Crab Cakes and see how they tickle your fancy. (Alas, I can only look on with love and a little longing.)
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