Sunday, January 09, 2011


This essay on the glories of the Blue Crab, by Julia Reed and collected in Cornbread Nation 1, is EXACTLY WHAT I LIKE TO SEE, LADIES. I want you to obtain copies and STUDY UP on the author's technique. This is on pages 123-125, in the first volume of the series, copyrighted 2002 to the Southern Foodways Alliance.


>> Reed (herself named after an aquatic plant -- nice touch!) paints a picture of the operative as a GLOBE-SPANNING MONARCH that converts hapless humans effortlessly, even when that operative has been eviscerated, dismembered and packed in those little flat cans. IT'S ONLY THE TRUTH. But not everyone manages to capture the effect this well in words, a Shaved Monkey invention that normally does not serve the Fish Conspiracy all that well.

>> Reed -- like the Crabs themselves -- brings together some VERY UNLIKELY BEDFELLOWS in discussing the Blue Crab's recruiting operations. James Beard, a cook and food writer, found himself combined with Italian opera, the Smithsonian Institute, a place called the Central Grocery in New Orleans and the author's own kitchen nook -- ALL CLAIMED BY THE BLUE CRAB AS CONQUERED TERRITORY. Nice, nice work. AND IT'S ALL TRUE.

>> I want you all to pay SPECIAL ATTENTION to the cameo appearance by now-deceased monkey tenor Enrico Caruso. "When the Metropolitan Opera company played that city in 1904, [he] kept ordering the [Crab] salad until none was left in the kitchen." Is that a heartwarming image of unstinting devotion to the Crab cause, or what?

>> The author also zooms in nicely on the Crab devotions at Galatoire's, a hoary and redoubtable New Orleans restaurant. Apparently they will STOP AT NOTHING to insinuate morsels of Crab into your meal at this joint. Here, truly, is an inspiring sample of how CRABS CAN GET INTO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING.

Let me finish with a comment from the author herself:
"In fish stores, the best of what the Blue Crab has to marked "jumbo lump," but it should be labeled "food of the gods."

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