I recently had a chance to take a trip home to visit with family and every time I go home, my family makes sure that I am fed well. It always seems like they think I never eat at school, but who am I to complain if they want to continuously bring me food while I relax on the couch? Living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland my entire life, a staple food group was seafood, but more specifically, the Maryland Blue Crab (which is in fact the Maryland state crustacean). If you have never seen nor eaten a Maryland Blue Crab, then you are truly missing out on one of the most delectable treats a person could ever ask for. Whether it be steamed crabs, soft shell crabs, crab dip, crab cakes, crab mac and cheese, crab guacamole, a crab quesadilla, or crab imperial, I love it.
When I was picking at my second crab cake of the night while looking out over the Chincoteague Bay, I began to wonder what I actually knew about the Maryland Blue Crab. To my surprise, I didn’t know much other than the fact that they tasted amazing. So I decided to do a little research. The blue crab’s scientific name is callinectes sapidus, which in Latin translates to ‘beautiful savory swimmer.’ They can be found up and down the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Argentina. Crabs are considered extreme scavengers and they will eat just about anything, even each other. Their typical life span ranges from three to four years and they reach adulthood between 12 and 18 months. And in 2015, there was an estimated 101 million female blue crabs to be living in the Chesapeake Bay.
(All facts found on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website; link posted below)
To provide you with a little fun fact, there is such a thing as the National Hard Crab Derby and it takes place in the crab capital of the world – Crisfield, Maryland. At the Derby, one can find the Miss Crustacean Pageant (she must be awful crabby), a crab picking contest, fireworks, carnival rides, crab cake cook-offs, and of course the Crab Derby race itself. Warning: This may sound like fun and games, but the events are taken very seriously. You may lose a claw!
I know this blog post may have ventured from the typical, more serious posts that I and my fellow PLAers write, but I wanted to provide you with a little background of something I grew up with and have always counted on to make my time home actually feel like home. And even besides that, my curiosity for this little crustacean provided me an opportunity to take a moment and learn more about an animal that gives my body both nourishment and happiness.