In my novel Nearly Canaan, Joshua and Jaya settle into a place unlike anything they would have imagined. It’s desert, for one thing, where nearly everything has to be irrigated, for another. Quite simply, it’s a lot like Yakima, in the middle of Washington state. But it’s also close to fresh Dungeness crab, a shellfish with a heavenly taste all its own.
What you should know.
- It draws its name from Dungeness, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula.
- It’s not King Crab, mind you, an Alaska specialty, but it is threatened by ocean acidification.
- It has five pairs of legs. (I haven’t counted the ones on a lobster.)
- It is found largely between Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and Santa Barbara, California. But don’t overlook that Washington state connection, right in the middle.
- About one-quarter of the crab’s weight is meat. One crab usually satisfies one person, though sometimes it will be shared by two.
- It has a delicate flavor and a slightly sweet taste. Don’t ask me to compare it to chicken or anything else. Not even lobster. It’s as different as cod is from salmon.
- It’s the State Crustacean of Oregon. What else do they have?
- If you go out at night trying to find one with a strong light focused in the water, you can likely rake up one right next to a decaying starfish.
- You really can’t get it here, wherever that is, outside of the Pacific Northwest.
- If you haven’t guessed, I really do miss them. They don’t travel well.