Went to the market with N, my daughter, and we were sold a crab yesterday, ridiculously cheap, so we brought it home and looked into Jane Grigson to see about cooking it. I let the beautiful creature walk around the kitchen first and then, like I do when I have to sacrifice a living creature in order to eat it, I looked at him/her (how to tell ?) in the eyes, having come down to floor level, and explained that I was going to kill him/her and apologized. I believe in reincarnation so I wished him/her the best for his/her next life.
HOW TO COOK A CRAB (Jane Grigson, Fish Cookery)
Fill a large pot with water and dissolve sea salt into it, if you are using sea water, you will still need to add more salt—an egg should float in it (use about 6 oz salt for 31/2 to 4 pints of water). Put the crab in it and fasten on the lid (I had not read this so our poor crab escaped out of the pot and had to be put back in), bring to a simmer and cook it, 15 minutes for the first pound, 10 minutes for each subsequent one. Take it out and let it go cold before you “excavate” it. Jane Grigson recommends getting someone to read to you while you are doing this.
In seafood restaurants in France they give you properly designed utensils, in Portugal they give you a hammer and a wooden board. I may be French but I think the hammer is the best as a proper utensil calls for proper technique that one is always slightly lacking on. So later on last night, alone in the darkened kitchen, I worked on the tiny legs and the brainy substances (that nobody else would queue up for) with delight without any condiment or hunger, just greedy pleasure and gratefulness, even though no one was reading to me.
This morning I had to head out really early but I made sure to go and harvest the courgettes at the proper required size as we are aiming to make stuffed courgettes in the next couple of days using the proper utensil (from Lebanon), the last one on the right on the first photograph above. In the matter of courgettes, a hammer is not recommended, and the proper utensil is really appreciated.
So I suppose this life I choose to have is more than the eating of lovely food, giving it thought and care, it is really about taking ownership and responsibility for my side of the relationship with nature and all the life forms around me, including slugs who gracefully eat the courgette flowers for instance, leave all the leaves to the plant and all the fruit to me , the lover of courgettes. It is a myriad of stories—in and out of the kitchen—that make up my life, and it is about accepting that there will be lives sacrificed in the process, and it will be my doing.
Plant swap today : S gave me a lovely hairy succulent from Madagascar and I gave her some rooted cuttings of Morroccan mint. Lovely day today : R bought me a large bowl of spicy soup and I loved swapping notes on our very very different lives before heading back home on the train.