Ooooh. These guys make a seafood flavored tooth paste. It’s supposed to be for pets, but what the hell.
My dog loves Old Bay, so there might be a market for something like that.
Here is the totally rewritten much shorter version of the earlier post on this subject that originally ran on the Baltimore Sun’s Dining@Large blog.
Crab Cake Bling
Something is awry with our humble meat loaf of the sea. On a 1977 Haussner’s menu a crab cake sandwich was $2.75, the same price as a sardine sandwich or a “hamburger sandwich.” Crab cakes have morphed from a homely local staple to an over-hyped, perplexing, lower-quality luxury good.
Crab cakes as big as soft balls? Absurd. Using expensive, less flavorful jumbo lump? Curious. Sneaking vapid pasteurized Asian crab into “Maryland” crab cakes? Preposterous. For years I have wondered why people desire this increasingly inferior and bombastic product. To understand demand for a less tasty, more expensive product, we must consider psychology in addition to economics.
The crab cake is becoming food bling – an object of conspicuous consumption. It is for some an exhibition of vulgar materialism, a lumpen-luxury good, an ironic status symbol. It is a gesture of silly wealth as American as a $12 Grey Goose dirty martini, $300 Nikes, or designer baby clothes. Flavor is now Flavor Flav.
Note: A longer version that includes historical data, quotes, photos, and an explanation of why Tony Danza is like a crab cake is posted here.
The Chinese have come out with live crab vending machines. This blows my mind.
One Shanghai Hairy Crab costs between the equivalent of US $1.50 to $7.50, depending on how large it is. The machine, which is kept at a temperature which cause the crabs to go into hibernation, guarantees live crabs. Get a dead one, they’ll give you three for free. Sure enough, the reporter in the video below gets a feisty one.
Great. Now I have a crab. What the hell am I going to do with it? Okay, Phillips, here is your opportunity to redeem yourself for the Franken-crab process you invented. Sure, selling live crabs is easy, just keep them really cold and they hibernate. The next obvious step would be a vending machine that steams and seasons them.
I have an even better concept. Convert one of those horrible claw machines where you try to pick up a prize in the glass case. In this case you would pick up your crab and drop him into a steamer.
From their patent attorneys’ web site:
Sterne Kessler worked with Phillips Foods to obtain a patent and register a trademark for its new product, the Culinary Crab™.
When Phillips Foods developed a less expensive alternative to a jumbo lump of crab meat, a formed lump of crab, they knew competitors would soon realize the demand in the market for such a product. Immediately, Phillips Foods called upon Sterne Kessler to protect its process and product as valuable assets. We searched and reviewed the closest prior art to craft the broadest possible patent protection for the method of manufacturing a formed lump of crab meat. We also worked with Phillips Foods to register the catchy trademark of Culinary Crab™ for the product.
Phillips patented a method to process scraps of crab meat into pieces that look identical to actual jumbo lump crab meat. And now we have a name for this monstrosity – Culinary Crap™, ur, Crab.
Ha! Not what you think. The question is what do crabs eat? Here’s an excerpt from Answers.Com
Crabs are ‘carrion eaters’, meaning they feast on what’s left after a larger predator has its fill. Typically, they munch on pieces of dead fish or whatever else happens to wind up on the bay or ocean bottom, since that’s where they live.
They are detrivores. They will consume animal as well as plant matter (algae, etc.). They will mostly live off plankton and other types of water plantation. They also eat some small fish in the wild.
Crabs are opportunists. They will eat what they find, including partially decomposed items.
They also eat hatchling turtles.
Some species have been known to eat guano (bat droppings).
Definition of DETRITIVORE
: an organism (as an earthworm or a fungus) that feeds on dead and decomposing organic matter
Detrivore sounds better but the dictionary insists that it is detritivore.
Did you know that there is a baseball team called the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs? Me neither. It’s part of the professional Atlantic League. Their home stadium is the Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland.
Their mascot pictured below is named Pinch. He is quite lame. I was hoping for something crabbier.
This is lame. Why do they use the word “precept”? I’m not even sure what it means.