Crabby

It’s New Years Eve again and I’m feeling acutely aware that I am supposed to be Resolving. Affirming. Thanking…and the more publicly, the better. This is what one does to mark the passing of the old year, yes? Especially when one is a writer who keeps a blog such as this one here.

And I guess I am doing some of that, but quietly. Not here.

Honestly, the idea of it–of making a cosmic “To Do” list– feels panic-inducing. I don’t wanna. 2011 was a fairly crappy year in a lot of ways that I’ve already documented here and elsewhere, but it ended with the news of three little books with my name on the title pages, so I am trying to be a little kind to it as it draws its last breath.

I’m ready for something new, though.

But before we get to the new (another 40 minutes to go), I’ll recount something old. When I was a kid, NYE was a night of seafood gluttony. I remember classic shrimp cocktail with sinus-shredding, horseradishy cocktail sauce and little neck clams steamed in butter and garlic and dry white wine. And I loved those things deeply. I still do. But more than that, I loved the King Crab legs my parents would get once a year to celebrate. Hard shell splintered with a silver nutcracker. Soft, sweet meat dipped in butter. Delicious and special.

We have our own food traditions now that I’m married and they most certainly do not include crab. Paul had a bad reaction to it years ago, and that was that.   So I gathered the ingredients for our yearly cheese fondue the other day at Wegmans, and pushed my cart past the seafood counter, where King Crab legs waved (er, kicked?) at me from behind Plexiglas.

But oh, this year the call was strong. I wandered back. Grabbed a bag of little necks and parked in front of the crab display. Those suckers were at least a foot long. And at $35.99 per pound…well, how much could just one spindly leg weigh, anyway?

Oh. A whole pound, huh? Fine, I’ll take a Snow Crab cluster for $11.99/lb instead. Mine, all mine! And yes, I enjoyed every last morsel this evening, along with the clams (which Paul also loved). We are saving the fondue for tomorrow.

But seriously, $35.99! When I was very young and living in Lexington, my grandparents came to visit and my parents brought us all to this restaurant called the Cork and Cleaver where they had an All-U-Can-Eat seafood special that included King Crab. My grandmother became legend that night, cracking leg after leg all by her lonesome. How many were there? More than 10, surely. Less than 30? I think about the decadence of that meal and the cost that made reliving it (even on a small scale) unattainable for me and the disconnect makes me dizzy. My grandmother’s meal was more than 30 years ago.

King Crab is clearly a thing that belongs to my past.

But future me gets to indulge in fondue. I’m not complaining!

Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for reading. Welcome, 2012!

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