Friday, March 24, 2006

Soft-Shell Crab Dining Tip From Euell Gibbons!


Well, this has been QUITE a week book crawling. Scouring the used-book outlets for readings I can interpret for you, I came across a book I’ve personally wanted for YEARS: Stalking The Blue-Eyed Scallop by beloved aquatic-life advocate Euell Gibbons, David McKay Co., Inc., New York NY, copyright 1964. Catherine R. Hammond did the almost-eerily-precise line drawings of our sister operatives. This is the Field Guide Edition (yes!). I feel compelled to add that in the distant year of 1971, when this edition was printed, it would set you back only $2.95 to buy it new. Oh, turn back the clock! Nowadays it would cost you sixteen bucks in paperback.

This is an entire Gibbons volume devoted to the myriad ways our fully-aquatic operatives can capture and recruit shaved monkeys, all the while convincing said recruits that THEY are capturing and assimilating US. There are delicious laughs on every page.

Seriously, Gibbons and Hammond should be proud of this work. They describe and illustrate the art of wildcrafting in the waterways WITHOUT anthropomorphizing, which frankly gets irritating after a while, and WITHOUT ONCE failing to respect the different lifestyles and habits of the species described on every page. Like the immortal Will Cuppy, Gibbons (you have to love his name, too) is respectful enough to capitalize the operative species, and even the names of the recipes he uses to eat them: for instance making Crab Cakes out of Green Crabs. This is a man I like.

I’m not going to attempt a one-shot review of this entire, sterling work; it is simply too full of TINY, GLITTERING LITERARY GEMS. I’m going to sprinkle these throughout the blog, to tantalize you into FINDING YOUR OWN COPY of this book. I would not be opposed to you campaigning as a group to convince the publishing houses to reprint this spectacular recruiting manual. IT CAN ONLY SPEED THE PROGRESS OF THE REVOLUTION.

Here’s a great one I found on pgs. 42-43:

“Although Soft-Shells [crabs]
are easy to clean and simple to cook, I somehow never think of them as a camp dish…the idea of serving such luxuries on paper plates to people in camp togs or bathing suits seems inappropriate. They are good enough to deserve the splendor of snowy linen, gleaming silver, delicate china, sparkling glassware and the finest wines. I feel faintly embarrassed approaching a well-cooked Soft-Shell in anything less than my best.”

You newer contacts may not fully appreciate the humor here. He’s breaking out the candelabra and dinner jacket in order to be recruited and consumed by Crabs who have been caught off duty, fast asleep in their underwear.