Where crab is king

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Sep 21, 2011 - 04:52 PM

Photo: Israeli Crab Salad took the grand prize. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

Israeli Crab Salad took the grand prize. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

Photo: Easy Crab Curry

Easy Crab Curry

It was another wonderful day in Crisfield, Md., the town where crab still reigns as king. Crisfield is an Eastern Shore town, much like Gloucester and Mathews in its culture and heritage, where once all seafood provided by the Chesapeake Bay prevailed in abundance.

The modern Crisfield has maintained that pearl of the bay, the Chesapeake hard crab, as an economic resource and has also been celebrating it for decades.

Each year since 1960 on the first weekend in September, following the selection of Little Miss Crustacean and Queen Crustacean, the three-day event opens with the crab cooking contest. Contestants come from far and near to prove they know how to make the best use of crabmeat.

This year’s competition proved that a lady who has lived in Crisfield for ten years really knows how to make and present crab at its best. Claudia Riley’s Israeli Crab Salad not only won a blue ribbon in the salad division, but was also awarded grand prize as the best of the first-place winners. "I’ve entered before," Claudia excitedly explained, "but got only second and third place ribbons. I was so surprised and excited when I won first place and then to receive the grand prize, it was great." Claudia said her recipe was one she and her family worked on together. "My husband and son, who are both Methodist ministers, have spent some time in Israel. On their last visit, a month’s stay, they were so impressed with the salads they had eaten that we put this one together."