I am in the basement doing shots of water, taking my three-minute break between crunches on the Stomach Master 6000 and leg lifts on the weight bench, when I smell the unmistakable buttery flavor of my mother’s crabby snacks and I start to salivate unmercifully.
Because I love crabby snacks, I leave the basement, enter the kitchen, and see that my mother is not only baking crabby snacks, which are buttered crabmeat and orange cheese on English muffins, but she is also making her homemade three-meats pizza – hamburger, sausage, and chicken – and those buffalo wings she gets from Big Foods.
The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick
Sometimes how you react to a book, gives insight into that person and their history. The recipe for crabby snacks from The Silver Linings Playbook, has been sitting in my draft list for over two years now. It’s the post that makes me stop and wonder ‘how much of myself do I write about?’ Do I share experiences and life stories that these books have dredged up from the depths of my memory? Or do I share these recipes as a means of escape from reality, into an alternative world. You see, The Silver Linings Playbook is about bipolar disorder, something that I watched an ex-boyfriend deal with for about five years, when I was just an 18-year-old teenager, and he was almost 30. My parents were devastated at my decision, but what do you do with a headstrong 18-year-old daughter who thinks she’s got it sorted? It’s only now that I can look back, and give my parents credit for how they handled it–to be clear they felt the situation was never good for me, but always making sure I knew I had a safety net underneath me.
I kept going in that relationship, but I think a coping mechanism kicked in (until it no longer could sustain itself). You alter your version of reality to some degree, so you can continue to believe that everything is okay. To make sense of the infidelity, extreme highs where nothing in the world could bring him down, the spending sprees which would often trigger a sudden retreat, not knowing when I’d have him back. But this sort of mindset only keeps yourself painfully in the cycle for longer, half unable, half unwilling to leave. People don’t understand why you can’t “just leave”. It was only when I was old enough, strong enough mentally, to know myself and understand I was worthy enough, that I was able to walk away.
I’m often wary putting out my life onto paper. To paint the full picture, would be a very long story, so I’ve given you the broad strokes. That chapter in my life was long ago closed, and like any story, the details become hazy. But sometimes reminders, like reading The Silver Linings Playbook, come up. The experience was not the same as the book, afterall the disorder is a complex one, and from the mindset of someone actually dealing with it. And nowadays I don’t remember the emotional roller coaster, it only makes me recognise what I learnt of myself during that time, and how grateful I am for where I am.
- ½ cup butter
- can crabmeat, drained
- one jar Old English Cheese spread (see notes if not available, i.e. in Australia)
- 1 tbsp mayo
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 6 english muffins, halved
- Old Bay Spice
- Melt together the butter and crabmeat (over the stove or in the microwave), then stir in the mayo and garlic powder.
- For an extra zing, mix in 1 tbsp of Old Bay spice (see notes if in Australia/if unavailable) with the crab mixture.
- Spread the cheese mixture thinly over the English muffins. Some say to freeze it but it didn't seem to make a difference.
- Grill for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.
We don't get Old English Cheese Spread here, so the next best thing-- easy cheese spread, with a bit of sharp cheddar, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
No Old Bay seasoning? Shake together the following in a bag and store.
1 tablespoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground dry mustard
1 pinch ground mace
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground ginger
ingredients list from Leitesculinaria