"So if anybody wants to get me something, get me 60 crabs -- one for each year. I don't want no diamond, I don't want no shoes, I don't want no party. I want some crabs.

-- Patti LaBelle

It's winter. Winter usually means rain, an occasional sunny day, the smell of musty wood, cloudy skies, enduring cold weather ... and catching colds. If you love walking in the rain or have an affinity for ducks, it's your kind of weather. Me? I prefer the indoors and a cozy fireplace at times like this.

But there's more than weather to consider during the winter season. There's skiing, the Super Bowl, roasting chestnuts on an open fire and being excused for putting off until tomorrow what should've been done while the sun was out.

For crustacean lovers, the beginning of winter marks the re-emergence of the Dungeness decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura in the showcase of select seafood markets around the Bay Area.

It offers an opportunity once again to get one's fill of the freshly basketed -- or however they're caught -- sweet, succulent Dungeness crabs if you're willing to pay the price. My wife and I thought serving crab for our holiday meal but after seeing what they charged at local markets for those critters, we opted for a turkey and roast instead. By the way, did you know there are more than 850 different species of crabs, and for my money the Dungeness ranks among the tops for taste and looks.


Advertisement

I wonder how the word "crab" ever became synonymous with a crotchety, surely person. I frankly think it's an out-and-out insult to crabs and should raise the dander of crabbers who fish them for a living. How would you like it if crabs began calling cranky crabs "people?"

Speaking of crabs, I recently received a flier announcing that the Diablo Valley Hui O'Aloha will host an all-you-can-eat crab feed on Jan. 26 at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Concord. Diablo O'Hui O'Aloha, if you've never heard of it, is a nonprofit organization, and I believe the only chartered Hawaiian club in central Contra Costa County. I realize that there are many other crab feeds that will be taking place throughout the greater Bay Area between now and then and ... well, until crabs get wise and retreat to their hermitages until the next winter.

My wife and I have participated in countless crab feeds over the years and support Hui O'Aloha for three worthy reasons: all profits go toward the clubs scholarship fund awarded each year to local deserving students; it's a great opportunity for folks to be exposed to the Polynesian culture of our 50th state; and besides enjoying a fabulous meal of seafood and pasta, the price includes an afternoon of live entertainment -- Island style.

The crab feed is open to the public. If you are interested in attending, I suggest you contact Sandy Kaya, president of the organization, or his wife Lois for tickets. They can be reached at 925-228-4525 or email, sanlokaya@yahoo.com. I'd advise doing it ASAP since seating is limited and a sellout crowd is expected.

The club has been putting on crab feeds for years, and if the next one is anything like those in the past, you can be assured of a lot of good food and a wonderful experience. If you are going for the first time and don't know anyone -- don't worry! The aloha spirit is contagious and if you fail to make friends or have a good time, that's on you!

Like Patti LaBelle sez: "I want some crab!?" and Hui O'Aloha will include all the extras.

Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at columns@bayareanewsgroup.

---