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Shell Game

Phillips Seafood provides water views, bibs, wipes and the savvy to crack a crab:

Forget mama’s rule. You know the one about not playing with your food at the dinner table? Eating crabs means ending up messy—a condition not just acceptable but required. Start with a pile of steamed crabs, encrusted in seasonings and stacked on a table that’s been wrapped in butcher paper.

STEP ONE:
Grab a leg (the six smaller appendages), and twist it out. If lucky, a piece of crab meat will come along. Discard the rest and repeat. Twist off the front claws, then crack with a wooden mallet to find meat inside.

STEP TWO: Flip over the crab. Slide a knife under the tip of a triangular piece on the belly; pry up. Then stick the knife between the carapace and the inside, and give a turn, popping off the main shell.

STEP THREE: Discard the lungs and possibly the yellow “mustard.” The equivalent of a crab’s liver, the mustard is considered a delicacy by the most intrepid of crab-crackers. Snap the remaining crab body in half, and dig a mini fork into the cavities.

STEP FOUR: Procure sweet chunks of white crab meat, and savor the delicious results.

Fun fact: Can’t tell a male from a female crab? Think U.S. capital landmarks. The plate on the female belly is the Capitol building’s dome; on the male belly, it’s the Washington Monument.

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