Monday, July 6, 2009

Wait For The Thunder

Unfortunately we forgot to take a photo of the real bite so this was re-enacted after the crab was half-cooked. You can see the small red puncture mark next to the tip of claw. My finger throbbed for hours after that.

I was about 7 or 8 years old. My mom had left a basin of cloudy rice water and I didn't know that a crab had strayed into the water. My cries brought the neighbors and someone said the crab will never let go unless the thunder clapped. Someone finally took a cleaver and whacked at the poor crab, which struggled and dug into my finger with all its remaining strength. That pain is forever imprinted in my memory. For many years, there was a fine white scar along the side of my finger. The scar has since disappeared and I can't even remember which finger it was.

That was a story my family has heard over and over and I never thought I would ever let myself be clawed by a crab again. Moments after telling my helper Vero that story, as we pulled off the plastic strings that tied each crab that we had already stabbed, I suddenly felt intense pain and looked at disbelief at the sight: my finger in the big claw of a crab, again! It was the memory of the previous experience that panicked me more than what was happening, because I never forgot the unbearable pain and the hopeless situation of getting the pincher off without enduring more pain as the crab tried to defend itself.

We were having some close friends and my kids' cell leaders over for a barbie last night and the last item to go on the grill was crabs. We could've thrown them onto the grill and closed the hood but that was deemed cruel so we finally stabbed the crabs through the soft part of their middle but there were raffia strings to be removed. I underestimated the tenacity of the last 3 dying crabs in the sink as I reached in to remove the strings.

So we had this situation where I was on my knees at the sink screaming with pain, and someone approached with a knife, another with a chopstick, and each time they came close, I tensed and the crab got terrified and dug deeper into my finger making me scream and tremble with pain which in turn made the crab dig even deeper. I felt blood rush to my face as I tried hard to keep still since any movement would panic my attacker.

One thing I love about my Hub is his control of situations. We've been in jungle situations (haha, private joke), passport expired flight about to take off situation, lost dog found dog but the person whose house dog ran into wouldn't give him back to us situation, children lost in mall situations and so on but each time Hub rose to the occasion and handled everything smoothly. I always tell my girl to get a thinking man like her father and for the boys to be like their father.

I shouted away those who came to help because the more the crab was threatened, the more he tightened his grip. I shouted for someone to boil water, hoping that we can slowly fill the sink with hot water so that the crab will faint or something. The frog in the increasingly warm water story came to mind. I was ready to wait all night, I just didn't want to have my finger dug deeper by a desperate crab in its final moments. Then Yi suggested pliers (thinking girl!) and Hub got a pair of small pliers, small enough to put in between the claw. Before I could stop him, Hero had swiftly plunged the pliers in between the claw and prised it open and freed my finger.

Now that I am a veteran at crab bites, I can offer some advice on the matter. Of course, be careful when handling crabs even if they look like they are dead. Maybe the best way to still them is like how you handle lobsters--give them a hot bath (correction: ice bath). And if you ever get floored by a crab's claw, yield, do not fight. I suppose that's stupid advice because you'll learn soon enough not to move or startle the crab. The crab settles down after a while but each time you tense up or move, he'll grip harder. For bystanders, it looks like an easy situation but I can tell you if you are the one whose finger is bitten, it is pretty agonizing. I was telling friends that I was lucky that the crab last night had a large claw and the pain wasn't as intense as the other time because the larger claw had a blunt end while smaller, younger crabs have very sharp claws that can cut really deep into the flesh. But I later realized that the crab had been stabbed and wounded and it was weakened. If it wasn't, it could've dug through my finger because, like I said, it was a survival fight for the crab.

I never looked the poor crab in its papaya-seed-like eyes. I was fighting for my finger but the crab was fighting for its life.

My final advice? Don't handle crabs until you know they are really dead because if you don't have a Hero, you may have to wait until the thunder roars.

My mom, who doesn't remember a lot of things, said, "What, again??"

p.s.: CL, R, W, P and K, if you are reading this, you were right. There's never a dull moment in my house.


Rei said...

That's a double Ouch! I'd probably use a pair of tongs to pick up the presumably dead crabs from now on. :p

terri@adailyobsession said...

*embarassed* u r right! i should've used tongs to pick off the strings...

Fooman said...

Really appreciate the sweat and literally blood and tears that went into dinner. :)

mott said...

OH BOY! I've been through a crab pinch was N-A-S-T-Y!

I felt your pain!!!!

Tigg3r said...

That must have been very painful!
I'm also very fearful of these nasty crabs but what to do? Just love eating crabs!

I freeze them until I think they are dead, spears with a steak knife, and I handle them using those white gloves that they use for handling Durians. It protects me from being cut by the sharp edges of the shell and legs. Most importantly, if my finger got bitten, I can immediately pull out my hands from the glove. :)

Jo-Hanna Ho said...

it was indeed an eventful night..
filled with awesome food, great friends, and topped with quite a few very interesting experiences.

thanks aunt terri for the amazing opportunity ^^

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who is running a restaurant told me that they normally kill the crabs by putting them into the freezer/fridge for a while.
But I'm not sure whether this method will affect the meats' quality.


Anonymous said...

Leaving the crabs in the freezer would be the most humane way to kill it. It will not affect the quality of the meat (otherwise restaurant won't be doing it, they can easily cut it up alive!). I tried the chopstick method once and still feel bad about it. Have been using the freezing method since.

Hope your finger is better, and the crab better tasted good! ;)

J2Kfm said...

i'm learning something new here.
what an educational read. though i can almost feel your agony! kneeling and screaming in pain, shoo-ing away rescuers!

never knew it's so hard to pry them open, as I thought you can just chop them pincers off.

Precious Pea said...

Ouch!!! When it comes to crab, I am very careful with their claws even after chopping it into pieces. I can imagine how painful it was.

Daedae said...

Ouch! I hope you marked the claw and had the satisfaction of eating that particular pincher!!!
Enjoying having a full house? both girls are at camp so empty house at the moment. ; )

Anonymous said...

Sorry dear, I laughed. When are you going to start writing down all your 'funny' experiences in a book? Bet it will be a best seller. Don't forget the one on the dog's medicine..

honeybunch72 said...

I'm a crab lover and I so feel for you. Did you finish every meat inside of this.. crustacean that bit u? I would! :)

Zurin said...

Oh My...sorry but I laughed too...but pained for you too.. nasty crab claws...ur mom is funny...hope you smashed the claw that bit you.

NEE said...

that s a really funny story but i am sure those moments are terrible. BBQ got blood and sweat.

i cant stand even looking at small cuts and will scream and turn green. so crab is out of question to cook unless someone already totally dismantle it hehehe....

terri@adailyobsession said...

fooman: yes, always the drama queen, me.we enjoyed having u n parents over:)

mott:high 5! i NEVER want to be bitten a 3rd time.

tigg3r: u know, tt is the best thing to do, but i never thought of it! after reading all the readers' comments, i realized tt the restaurants always throw the live seafood into a bucket of ice water.

johanna: thnx for coming!

danielle, creating objectives: thnx for the excellent advice!

terri@adailyobsession said...

j2: oh no, the worst part is not just the pain, but the horror of knowing tt if u move or do anything to try to free ur finger, crab will dig deeper, n he does. so painful!

pp: imagine is not the same, experience it lol!

daedae: i didn't get to eat much, just 2 pinchers, by the time i calmed down n had a shower most of it was gone. the flesh was very sweet n firm, i think it's crab season

girls hav grown so big, esp kimmie! yi showed me ur facebook. can feel the happy vibes in ur family, n bob's steady, wise sagacious fatherly nature. miss u all so much!

r: the dog med?! i forgot about tt one lol! so good tt i hav u to remember for me.when's the get-together??

honey: no, it went so quickly. i did have a couple of claws n am planning to drive out to tuaran for more crabs soon.

zurin: wey was angry with the crab, which was silly bc the poor thing was just defending itself. yes, it was PAINFUL.

nee: smart girl. let greg do all the stabbing n killing. u just eat, ok.

TeaLady said...

Terri - I feel your pain!! Honestly!!!

We have blue crabs in the South and they are small and have great legs, great taste, and HORRENDOUS claws that sneak up on you. Pity the poor child (ME!!) Who wants to hold one and it holds back - not so subtle screaming of child.

Hope your finger is better and hope the crab was delicious.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...