Thursday, April 08, 2004

Me Vs. The Shrimp

I'm making dinner for my sister-in-law and two of her daughters tonight, and since my parents came over yesterday from the city to monstersit, I asked them to swing by Ranch 99 on the way to pick up some medium-size shrimp. They are for what I like to call my Ooh!-and-Aah! Salad.

Such shrimp-ly bounty would cost $12.99 at my local Mollie Stone's, whereas at Ranch 99 they practically give it to you as a parting gift. However, if the shrimp come from Ranch 99 they still have their heads on. I do not need shrimp heads for my Ooh!-and-Aah! Salad.

Pause for an annoying aside. Have you heard the Ranch 99 tagline?: "Ranch 99. For 100, we try harder!" Is that not hilarious? Now back to my originally scheduled program.

And so it came to pass that I stood at my kitchen sink beheading and deveining shrimp for an hour while my daughters ran figure-eights between my legs. They are too big to run figure-eights through my legs, so I spent most of the hour on my tip-toes in a demi-plié so as to avoid injury to my nether regions. I think I can safely count that as one of my workouts for the week.

Have you ever pulled the head off an uncooked shrimp? The brains ooze out all yellowish-pinkish-reddish. If you pull the head off just so, you'll expose the very top of one of the veins, which you can then pull right out. The other vein isn't so deep, and it's easy to coax it out gently with the tip of a knife.

When I was finished, the sink was littered with shrimp heads, splattered with shrimp brains and laced with shrimp bodily waste. It looked like I'd committed some unspeakable crime. Which—if you are a shrimp or a friend of shrimps—I suppose I did.

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