A Very Messy Dinner Party

When I was little, my mum packed my brother and I into a car and took us on a road trip through America. We drove all the way from New York State to the tip of Key West making frequent stops along the way - I remember almost every minute of that road trip, it was so much fun.

One of my favourite memories was when we stopped at a shack on a beach somewhere in Florida and ate an entire bucket of crabs with our fingers.

Ever since I've had a fondness for food that comes in a bucket that I can eat with my fingers

(oink oink)

 and a real love of shellfish - so this past weekend I tried to re-create a little of the magic. I'm not going to do a recipe post because none of this requires any skill to cook, we didn't useany recipe we just threw together whatever looked good. Though it did help to google how to open up a crab...

Of course every good crab boil needs a few sides. Some I chose for their summary colouring.

Others I chose for their taste. Crab and potato salad always go together, I like mine with a little horseradish and wholegrain mustard.

Of course you need corn on the cob too, because it's part of every traditional boil and it's also fun to eat with your fingers.

And Adam made an apple salad because he likes a bit of sweet with his crab - I just like mine with some garlic butter.

Two of these bad boys was more than enough for three people. Though the taste is wonderful, they're not quite the same as the little crabs that you get in Florida - they're quite tricky to eat.

That's why you need tools. Most people would probably make sure they had the proper equipment for eating food with tough armor before cooking it, but we're not the kind of people to put logic ahead of the demands of our appetites.

It's also important to be careful when trying to get into a crab with pliers and a hammer. Keep an eye on the situation otherwise your boyfriend may ricochet bits of crab shell off your dinner guests forehead by accident, and you may end up choking on bits of potato salad while trying not to laugh too hard.

You may also want to lay down a towel, because bits of crab shell can travel as far as five feet from the table without you even noticing.

Wine should be flowing, and shellfish charades are strongly encouraged.

If you've always been guilty of rushing through your meals, treat yourself to a crab or even a bucket of crabs if you can get your hands on one. There's just no easy way to get through one of these 4lb beasts without taking your time.