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DH was 'volunteered' to cook crab at an event

(48 Posts)
CanadianGran Mon 24-Jun-19 23:10:59

My husband has a 40th class reunion this weekend, including a 'meet and greet' on Friday evening, and a more formal dinner and dance on Saturday.

He just told me he was put on the list to cook and clean 50 live crab for the Friday night event. This is held at a local golf course club house. I imagine the crab will be cooked and cleaned outside, then brought in to serve while still hot.

So this leaves him a smelly mess outside, and me on my own mingling with drink in hand an no husband (I'm a bit shy in larger gatherings). The crab has been donated by other classmates that are commercial fishermen, and since we are a seaside community and many classmates are coming from afar they will be looking forward to a taste of fresh crab.

I'm feeling quite peeved, and imagine he is as well (he just messaged me, and I am still at work). I would rather pay for someone to cook the crab, even at our own expense, so he can enjoy his party.

Am I right to feel ticked off?

GoodMama Tue 25-Jun-19 00:14:15

I have to admit I would be a bit taken aback at being assigned a duty at a celebration where I was a guest (especially such a messy and smelly duty).

I'm all for everyone pitching if that's what you signed up for, but it doesn't sound like that's the case here.

Am i right in assuming his was a small class and the reunion is being put on by volunteers and is of not cost to you?

All in all, I do think it's rude I don't blame either of you for being upset.

Nansnet Tue 25-Jun-19 05:02:05

Seriously? It would be very time consuming to have to prepare and cook live crabs just for a small dinner party, let alone preparing 50 of them! He can't do that alone! Either he gets several more volunteers to help him out, or everyone pitches in to pay someone to do it! Personally, I'd go with paying someone to do it ... it's way too much to expect for one person to do this. I also agree with your concerns that he's not going to be able to enjoy the gathering, and neither are you! Too much to expect!

TwiceAsNice Tue 25-Jun-19 06:32:14

How was it decided it was him if he didn’t volunteer? I would be seriously miffed and would say no. You will both not have a nice time. I’d organise paid help immediately. Does he even know how to cook a crab I wouldn’t

crystaltipps Tue 25-Jun-19 06:34:58

Shouldn’t they be getting proper caterers in for this type of thing? ( health and safety, food hygiene?) contact the organisers pronto and point this out- any food poisoning would be down to them. Otherwise tell them he’s vegan/ allergic/ hopeless with knives etc.

BradfordLass72 Tue 25-Jun-19 06:48:14

I don't wonder you and DH feel crabby - cleaning these decapod crustaceans should be left to the experts who donated them.

I do think your husband should tell the organisers straight away that he is not prepared to abandon you on this special night. He doesn't need to give any other justification than that.

An uxorious man is never despised by right-thinking people.

Riverwalk Tue 25-Jun-19 07:01:35

From what you say, it sounds like he is not the only one detailed to do the crabs, also that this is an informal event on the Friday?

I'm sure the other chaps won't just be sitting around inside drinking beer and socialising whilst the crabs are being prepared and cooked.

It will sound very precious if you offer to pay someone else to do his work! I don't think you should be fretting over this.

crystaltipps Tue 25-Jun-19 07:05:18

If they are charging for this event they should have food hygiene certificates.

mumofmadboys Tue 25-Jun-19 08:01:06

Could you help him with cooking the crabs?

Greta8 Tue 25-Jun-19 08:40:55

Do you think this might be a joke? How could anyone do this unless you were a qualified chef with a food hygiene certificate. The potential for food poisoning here would be immense - they're tricky to prepare as you have to remove the dead man's fingers etc. If it's not a joke he should just refuse.

sodapop Tue 25-Jun-19 08:46:01

Sounds like a recipe for disaster ( no pun intended ) I have to agree with crystaltipps this is a job for someone with catering experience especially if people are paying for their meal.
Shellfish can be tricky and not a job for an amateur I would say. It's one thing preparing them for guests in your own home but quite another at an event such as you describe.

discodiva Tue 25-Jun-19 10:19:01

50 crabs! Definitely speak up and say no. Your husband wants to enjoy himself. And so do you. Bit of cheek to ask him.

kiki2 Tue 25-Jun-19 10:25:41

Forgive me for being dim but what does AIBU stand for ?

breeze Tue 25-Jun-19 10:32:11

Was he popular at school smile

What others have said. Potential for food poisoning. 50 crabs also potential for losing finger with sharp knife/shell. I was knackered after prepping 2 lobsters Xmas day. Exhausting. Get help.

TwiceAsNice Tue 25-Jun-19 10:32:14

Am I being unreasonable kiki

EllanVannin Tue 25-Jun-19 10:33:39

I couldn't even begin to start cooking a live crustacean !

sarahcyn Tue 25-Jun-19 10:34:54

Tell the organisers you have both started supporting PETA and cannot do this work for ethical reasons.

Jaycee5 Tue 25-Jun-19 10:45:14

I agree with Crystaltipps. He should just email and say that he doesn't have a hygiene certificate and is not sure that he could prepare that many in a safe way so will have to decline.

oliversnana Tue 25-Jun-19 10:46:29

Suggest more people pitch in might change their minds.
Just a thought 50 crabs 50 people 1 each make it a competition maybe could cause a laugh. Especially if it's an informal meet and greet.

moggie57 Tue 25-Jun-19 10:47:48

frankly i would refuse. as i'm a vegetarian this job would be totally disgusting.... refuse to do it....

EmilyHarburn Tue 25-Jun-19 10:49:39

cooking and cleaning and presenting 50 crabs is a job for a caterer who knows what he is doing and has the relevant certificate. Are these crabs being served hot or dressed cold. It is quite absurd that anybody who has not done this before should try to cook 50 and present them at a meal on his first try.

Each crab needs expert attention with a knife in hand. There is lot of opportunity to get expertise on u tube but I think this is definitely a professionals job.

Nannyfaraway Tue 25-Jun-19 11:16:52

Agree with others. Cleaning and cooking crabs is for professionals who know what they are doing.
There are parts of crabs that should not be eaten.
Tell your husband to email and tell the organiser he can't cook crab

kwest Tue 25-Jun-19 11:19:29

This sounds like some sort of sick joke at your expense. You could say that on reflection this is beyond your skill level and that neither you or your husband could possibly do this. Better to back out now and offer to do something you do feel comfortable with.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Jun-19 11:34:13

I was given two crabs once. It took me about 2 hours to dissect them and there were bits of crab shell all over the kitchen.

I think someone’s pulling your DH’s leg, canadiangran.
Or maybe he’s pulling yours.

A famous John McEnroe quote springs to mind.

cc Tue 25-Jun-19 11:36:37

I can't begin to imagine how long it would take to cook and clean this many crabs, quite mad to expect anyone who is not a caterer to do it. I agree with others, he should back out now.

quizqueen Tue 25-Jun-19 11:55:42

They need to get in caterers as these (poor) crabs need to be prepared and cooked correctly. Just say no, you are not prepared to do it.

whywhywhy Tue 25-Jun-19 12:06:05

I think he should speak up and let them know that he is not doing it. Honestly it takes ages to dress crabs as we used to live near a fishing place and we often had them for tea. My dad used to cook them (which is a horrible job - cos they are still alive!) and my mam did the preparing. Dont let him be pushed into a corner on this one. Why can't they get someone from outside (professional) to come along and do it. That is just not fair on both of you and you have every right to be peeved - I would be. x

Hellsbells63 Tue 25-Jun-19 12:14:01

Boiling crabs alive is unbearably cruel.
Can’t they eat something else?

sarahellenwhitney Tue 25-Jun-19 13:02:01

In charge of a 'bbq' I could accept. Cleaning out one crab let alone numerous ? NO.

Tillybelle Tue 25-Jun-19 13:02:49

Is it a joke?

Does your DH have some kind of expertise in preparing Crab?

50?!!!!! When you are supposed to be there as guests enjoying the occasion?

What kind of person is organising this?

Complete madness! Say NO!

Also, I would be unable to do it, so I would never expect anyone else to do it unless they were a Chef or a Fishmonger! I couldn't possibly kill a crab. I simply don't eat them because of the cruel way they are boiled alive.

Vonners Tue 25-Jun-19 13:20:54

He has been asked to cook them FOR the Friday night event, not AT the Friday night event.
I think they would need to be done in advance.
As whywhywhy says, they are put in the pot live. They then need cooking, cooling and picking.
Hopefully he will be part of a team who have previous experience.

Barmeyoldbat Tue 25-Jun-19 13:37:22

You need to say no to doing the crabs as you could become liable if anyone had a reaction or feel ill. Stupid idea to have volunteers cooking and preparing crabs.

wot Tue 25-Jun-19 13:38:16

He could tell them he doesn't agree with the cruelty of cooking live crabs. I couldn't do it.

Gonegirl Tue 25-Jun-19 14:18:42

Living on the Canadian coast (which I assume the OP does) they are most likely all well versed in the preparation of all kinds of seafood.

But I think they should enlist single men only.

sandelf Tue 25-Jun-19 14:18:57

I agree with Nansnet. If there are a few of them working together it will be part of the reunion, and they can clean up or be a mess together. Otherwise it strikes me someone is 'playing on good nature'. It is his reunion too. Also you would not be the only 'spare lady' if the men made a little work party up, their guests would also be solo and you could mingle.

Gonegirl Tue 25-Jun-19 14:20:10

Or, you could skip the Friday do yourself and just go to the Sunday event.

Dinahmo Tue 25-Jun-19 14:20:26

You can't be certain that they are to be served hot. No one in their right minds would expect an amateur to cook, prepare and serve 50 hot crabs. If that is the case then the commercial fishermen should be doing it as they will no doubt be experienced at it (referencing here Rick Stein and Keith Floyd who often ate fish and crustaceans on the boat when they went fishing)

lemongrove Tue 25-Jun-19 15:47:16

Presumably your DH is one of many on the list to prepare the crabs?
Even so, without an expert on hand to show how it’s done, it’s a health risk.
Horrible job anyway, and I would have refused it point blank.

lemongrove Tue 25-Jun-19 15:49:56

I would also refuse to eat crab or lobster, come to that, when it’s an appalling way to kill a creature.

chrissyh Tue 25-Jun-19 17:59:31

Kiki2 - AIBU is 'am I being unreasonable'. There are a lot of acronyms used on here and if you look at the top you will see a list and Acronyms is the last on it.

CanadianGran Tue 25-Jun-19 18:11:10


We do live on the north coast of BC, and many in town are familiar with cooking and cleaning crabs. In fact the organizers (part of the original graduating class) know that my hubby and a few others have propane crab cookers for cooking outside, and the crabs are donated by a fisherman classmate.

However the mess and time is very impractical for serving hot freshly cooked crab at a golf clubhouse. DH has contacted the other volunteer, the crab will arrive early at either our or someone else's house. The boys can cook the crab while socializing, clean them, and bring them cold over ice to the event. If people want crab at the event, they can pick/crack them there.

One of his classmates came over for a visit yesterday, and it seems there is a bit of disorganization for this event. But for a small town, they are expecting over 50 graduates, plus guests so over 100 people.

He is happy to assist knowing it can be done in advance, so we can go to the event dressed nicely and ready to socialize. We did pay for the event, which includes a Friday cocktail meet and greet, Saturday dinner/dance and Sunday BBQ.

I personally find crab a big mess. We do occasionally get them, hubby cooks and cleans them outside , then picks the meat after I lay a large cloth in the kitchen. I thought it was pretty cheeky for the planners to ask, and would have thought the caterers at the event could be asked to cook them, but apparently they don't have the capability in the smaller kitchen of the golf course club house.

Problem resolved, but I won't be eating crab at the event!

VIOLETTE Tue 25-Jun-19 18:12:36

Simply say NO ,,,stating that he has never cooked crab and has no idea how to do it so as not to kill anybody with food poisoning …..make it sound like a definitive remark and not just being crabby (sorry) BUT I never eat them or lobster, or anything else that would need cooking alive … is horrible ,,,poor things ...but I am just squeamish I guess ….grin

Nanabilly Tue 25-Jun-19 18:45:34

I would seriously consider saying no! For a few reasons but the most important one being health and safety and food hygiene regulations . Is your husband trained in any way to do the job?
If anyone gets sick after the meal they will always blame the food and your husband could be in the firing line for all of it.
I would be livid being volunteered for such a job.

CanadianGran Tue 25-Jun-19 18:46:36

As for objections to cooking live crab, I also don't like the idea. Crab can be killed quickly, just like lobster, with a knife then gutted and cooked. This way they cooking in cleaner water, and the process is more humane.

Tillybelle Tue 25-Jun-19 18:53:31

CanadianGran I think you are being very kind to just say it is "pretty cheeky for the planners to ask". I think it is a terrible imposition. Frankly I would refuse, but as your husband has experience with crab cooking he no doubt will feel confident. But what a chore! Like you, I think it is a messy thing to eat as well. I do not eat it now but my last experience, many years ago, was lobster in the States and it was a special Lobster Restaurant. We were all given plastic aprons and ate from the table, which was covered in a plastic cloth. At the end our aprons were places with the bits on the table and everything was gathered up in the tablecloth and thrown away. Very well organised! But to me, it seemed the best way to eat either lobster or crab. The chef kindly came and taught us Brits how to eat our lobster so that we got all the meat out!

I do hope some fun is had during this arduous job. I hope that the whole weekend goes well and that the organisers haven't made any other strange requests of people. I certainly wouldn't eat the crab - no offence to your husband, but it would be messy anyway!

Tillybelle Tue 25-Jun-19 19:03:30

How memory works! You have made me remember something from my childhood.
My mother was born on and lived on the Square of a pretty village. It has been in several films, just by the way. Anyway, on the corner was a fishmonger, fruiterer and greengrocers. When mum had grown up, married and moved to the next, not pretty and not famous village, the old man at this shop had a stroke. My mum decided to go and help him out. Little did she know, he needed her to kill the crab! It was not often they had them and only on order. The fishmonger used to do it with a steel skewer straight into the brain so the creature knew nothing. Done swiftly it was humane. As my mum married a farmer she had to be strong and get on with it! I have to say, I would not be able to do it. I am in fact vegetarian!

Jaye53 Wed 26-Jun-19 01:26:59

Are you sure its not a prank theyre playing on youconfused

BradfordLass72 Wed 26-Jun-19 06:15:03

Talking about 'disorganisation' of the military kind this time. I went with a party of Air Force Cadets to Vancouver one year as guests of the Ogopogo Squadron.

Canada is such a beautiful country and my father once seriously thought of emigrating there.

It was a very long flight and when we landed, we'd been awake and in the air well in excess of 39 hours.

We landed, glassy-eyed but our hosts (or rather the organisers, all in their 60's and ex-military men) gave us no time at all to rest or even have food and drink but took us to a lengthy official reception (lots of speeches from dignitaries, no refreshments) then we went to look at a gravel pit. Yes, you read that right.

Exhausted and jet lagged, the cadets nevertheless rose at 5am next day hoping to go across the border to Seattle, to an air base and famous air museum.
This was to be the highlight of the whole trip.

En route the elderly bus broke down but instead of re-arranging the trip with private cars as was suggested, they took us instead to several other boring places the teenagers didn't want to see.

It was, as far as our whole squadron was concerned, a total fiasco for which we paid many thousands of dollars.

The only good thing was the Ogopogo cadets and their parents who were lovely and very interested in Maori culture.
My son taught them a haka and why its done. When we were leaving, the boys broke into a spontaneous haka in the airport, brought it to a complete standstill and were cheered to the rafter at the end.

When we got home, a reporter asked a young girl cadet if she could encapsulate the experience.

She said, "I learned what SNAFU means."