We had our first crab of the season last week and my husband said, ‘you have to do a post about Dungeness crab’!  So here it goes….

We were raised in landlocked Montana and didn’t have much/any exposure to fresh seafood back in the 1950’s and 60’s.  In my house, seafood consisted of an occasional meal of very over cooked halibut or fish sticks (I’m not sure if fish sticks is/are seafood?).  My husband, on the other hand, was raised by a seafood lover.  It wasn’t easy to be a seafood lover there back then, but his mom found a way to indulge.  The airport restaurant, called Victor’s, had a Friday night seafood buffet.  A downtown restaurant, Shell’s, had fresh shrimp, and a spot out of town, the Village Inn in Ulm, MT, served king crab legs.  There might have been other spots, but those are the ones I remember growing up.

Fast forward to 1979 and our move to Port Angeles, WA.  My husband couldn’t wait to dive into the world of seafood out our front door and dive in we did.  One of the first excursions I remember was going to Dungeness for crab after dark at low tide.  We wore our chest waders and carried a bucket, light, and rake.  We would spot crabs along the bottom, scoop them up with a rake, make sure they were males, measure them, and if they were legal, put them in our buckets.  It was quite an adventure for this Great Falls girl!

Cooking crab was the real adventure!  A big pot of water is brought to boiling and the crabs are put in to cook.  The smell is horrendous, but the worst part was hearing their claws scratching on the lid ☹.  One even escaped the pot at one point.  I vowed never to cook crab at home again and I have kept that vow!

Despite the cooking experience, I still love crab.  It is my husband’s all-time favorite food. We can’t wait for commercial crab season to open and it did last week.  The 2020-21 season was a bust (that made the pandemic lockdown doubly difficult), but 2021-22 is looking good so far.  We even have a fish guy, Juanito (pictured in the left corner), who my husband has befriended over the years.  Our favorite place to buy crab is at Mutual Fish in Seattle.  They have been around since 1947 and if they have fresh crab, it is guaranteed to be good!

I haven’t returned to the ocean myself, but my husband connects with his long-time buddy, Richard (pictured on the right), when he can.  Richard drops crab pots when the season is open and frequently pulls in a haul.  He has also mastered how to cook them OUTDOORS.  His fresh crab, right from the ocean, is tough to beat!

My meilleur ami is visiting soon.  Her one request is to have crab while she is here.  My husband thought she was just humoring us in her crab desire, but I assured him she is on Team Tom Douglas!

Sweet, delicious Dungeness crab is always a treat!

Tom Douglas


On a much more somber note, I thought Maria Shriver’s 12/5 Sunday Paper nailed it.  If interested, take a look at her essay: “What the heck is going on in our country?”


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