Sci Fi Crab with a “K”

I chuckled when I read the seafood festival planner’s comments .  . “there will be no crab with a ‘k’” he had boasted to the newspaper reporter.  Crab with a “k” is artificial crab, a strange Japanese concoction of minced fish doctored to look and taste like crab. A gourmet package of “krab” is described as crab-flavored seafood made with surimi, a fully cooked fish protein with real and artificial flavors. Though that sounds like the deviled ham of the seafood industry, believe me, the potted meat of the seafood industry is out there and it’s also spelled with a “k.”  You see, “krab” might look and taste like crab, but it doesn’t act like crab. While it might function well cold in salads, krab experiences a metamorphosis when heated.  My father, a great seafood gumbo cook, unwittingly taught me that. He loved grocery shopping in unique venues so when he visited the Metroplex, we hauled him off to the Vietnamese market to buy shrimp for the gumbo he was making for us.  He considered himself quite adept at understanding Asian dialects. After all, he had spent a couple of years in Korea during the war. And he was pretty good at figuring out what people were saying, even though his hearing was going.  The reek of the seafood counter and his animated conversation with the ancient Vietnamese grandmother weighing the seafood only added to his shopping experience.  We left with a couple of pounds of shrimp and what he understood was crab. It wasn’t until just before serving the gumbo, the point where the crab is added, that we learned that crab can be spelled with a “k.” After adding the peeled shrimp, he unwrapped the butcher-paper package of crab, crumbled the contents and gently placed them in the potful of simmering gumbo. And the crab began to grow and unravel and stretch. Crab became krab and transformed into long tendrils of noodles, then longer strands of spaghetti. The gumbo no longer looked like gumbo, but oddly enough, it tasted like gumbo minus the sweetness of crab. We picked out the krab, and prayed it didn’t transform one more time as we ground it up in the disposal before washing it down the drain.  We ate the krabless gumbo and wondered if the Vietnamese language even has a “k.”


About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
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