The nice thing about being an amateur gourmet is that I am an amateur gourmet. By that, I mean, I have no accountability. Sort of like being an amateur doctor. “Oops,” you can say, “I swapped your liver with your spleen! Sorry!”
Lacking accountability allows me to discuss things I know nothing about without any fear of repercussions. “Why you blasted gourmet!” you can say, to no avail. “Your misinterpretation of vichyssoise ruined my Bar Mitzvah!”
Tonight, then, I ate a soft-shelled crab. I know nothing about soft-shelled crabs. I’ve never eaten one before.
Lauren and I went to dinner with our friends Hetal and Andrew:
Because we were going to see “Shrek 2,” we decided to eat in the mall. And as you already know, the Phipps mall is home to Twist (where I ate with my parents and brother graduation weekend). So we ate there.
The menu there is eclectic, to say the least. Sushi, Tapas and Salads For Two mix awkwardly on four overstuffed pages of options. It’s like EPCOT jammed into one menu. We all read our menus like novels. Then the waiter told us the specials:
“Blah blah blah,” he said, “And also blah blah blah. Then there’s the soft-shelled crab.”
My ears perked up. I had never had a soft-shelled crab. I run an internationally-acclaimed website where millions of readers thrive off my every experience–I must eat this for them.
“I’ll have that,” I said boldly.
“Very good,” said the waiter, running to the kitchen, failing to take anyone else’s order.
“Hey!” said Hetal, “I’m hungry too.”
“Quiet woman,” I snapped, “Don’t you know who I am?”
Moments later, the waiter returned with this–my soft-shelled crab:
I dug in immediately. Andrew, Hetal and Lauren watched with watery eyes that reflected the emptiness in their stomachs.
“Mmmm!” I announced. “This is delicious!”
The batter was nice and flavorful. And the crab–every square inch of it–was remarkably edible. No pesky shell to crack through, no weird parts to scrape aside. I finished almost as quickly as I had started.
“Ahhh!” I said, “What a treat! Who’s ready for a movie?”
Andrew, Hetal and Lauren keeled over dead from starvation. I saw Shrek 2 alone.