Stupidly, I was unprepared for how much Lucy wanted to pound the crap out of things. There is some serious toddler anger in that little body. She ate a lot, but the walls are now splattered with butter marks and David nearly lost a cornea to a flying shard of crab leg.
I had to step in and save Edie when Lucy (softly stroking her sister’s foot with one hand and fondling the mallet with the other) asked “Can I smash Edie’s leg, too?” Edie, sensing danger, grabbed a crab leg off the table and bopped her sister over the head. There were tears and a UN-sized conflict mediation was required, but a stalemate and eventually, peace were achieved.
By the end of the session, the table was crab carnage. Splintered shells, dismembered legs, bits of oily flesh flecked about the floor and small buttery-mouthed children sucking the last bits of meat out of the shells…and then blowing air into the empty shells to make crab leg whistles and buckling over with laughter.
And then, they got all loopy and hopped up on crab and started hucking shells around the room "It's raining crab, Daddy!" and David and I had to shut down the party. But all in all it went pretty well. No one was permanently maimed in the eating of this meal - except for the crabs who suffered greatly - and not one child was rushed to the hospital where we would have to explain all this to social services.
I like this meal mostly as a fun snack on a weekend – to carry you from lunch to dinner. It’s super tactile for the kids, almost like a project, a lot of work getting the meat out of the shells which keeps them busy and sitting at the table. And, of course, the meat is mild and buttery and easy to love. Yes, it’s ridiculously messy, but I’m not Martha Stewart and a little flying butter never scared me. It just blends with the rest of the stuff stuck to my floors.
Next time, we’ll dispense with the mallets and crack ‘em in the kitchen before they get to the table. Or maybe we'll just continue to live dangerously...