by Kate Heyhoe
Communities across America celebrate Memorial Day with a big focus on food. For some it's a picnic in the park with sandwiches, others grill ribs and barbecue on the patio, and if you're lucky enough to live along the coast, you might round up your friends for a shrimp or crab boil.
In her book Down-Home Wholesome, Danella Carter updates traditional soul foods to today's healthy standards without sacrificing their heritage of flavor. She spices the book with warm and amusing stories of her childhood, growing up in the Deep South, where the African influence on American cuisine was deep and rich. Here's a sample from the book, a wonderful idea for your own Memorial Day event.
At least twice during the summer months, the whole family drove to Baltimore to get a barrel of live crabs. On the way back, we'd continually peek into the barrel to see if the crabs were still alive, and those feisty rascals were invariably alive and kicking. Mom would make an all-day event out of this, with friends and relatives pouring in the door, full of anticipation. The table was lined with newspapers, mallets, and nutcrackers. There was a trash barrel filled with ice-cold beer for the adults, and root beer and cream soda for the kids.
24 live blue crabs
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small chili pepper, seeded
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups beer
1/2 cup Shellfish Boil or Old Bay Seasoning
Rinse crabs under cool water. With tongs, and a bit of patience, lift crabs one by one into a steamer basket and cover. In a large stockpot (large enough to accommodate the steamer basket), sauté garlic in oil for 1 minute, until lightly browned. Add pepper, vinegar, and beer and bring to a boil. Carefully lower the basket into the hot mix, and sprinkle seasoning on top of the crabs. Secure the lid. Steam for 10 minutes, until crabs are deep red in color. Let them come to room temperature before serving.
Per serving: 144 calories / 2 gm fat / 9 gm carbobydrate / 428 mg sodium
by Danella Carter
Plume Trade paperback, $15.95
Reprinted by permission
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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