No, I’m not talking about soothing that loved one who injects occasional crankiness into your life. I assume you have that covered, especially during this season. After all, since childhood we’ve been told the message of our year-end holidays is peace and goodwill.
On this first day of a month when festive food becomes our culture’s preoccupation, I’ll merely wax poetic about an item I discovered during travel in Japan, a little something that eases certain meals in our home. If you haven’t seen this item before, can you guess what it is from the picture below?
Take a hint from this question: have you sworn off serving crab to guests, to spare them the burden of fighting to dig out the delicious meat?
These forks from Japan can make light of the work and turn the struggle into a minor ritual of elegance. Just crack the crab, stick the sleek fork in, and pull or lift. Voila! Out comes the meat, white and sweet—the perfect appetizer, in my humble opinion.
I first encountered these forks at a ryokan, during dinner delivered with great ceremony and eaten at a low table as our family sat together on our room’s tatami floor. The usefulness of these forks immediately struck me, and the discovery felt so important that the next day I ran out to a store to buy them to bring home. As well as taking the struggle out of eating crab, they seem always to serve as conversation starters.
I’ve looked around for these forks in the USA, and haven’t seen any quite like these. US and European versions do exist, but the tines of the Japanese forks are slightly different from the rest. The Japanese forks, to my taste at least, are sleeker and a bit more elegant.
Though it’s possible the Japanese forks might be available at a few Asian grocery stores in this country, I’ve just learned that anyone can get them over the internet. Here’s the link to a company who offers them: www.ekitron.com. (Type crab fork in the search box in the upper right corner. The item number is EK_2028-1.) Wouldn’t these forks make a different and charming holiday gift?
Who knows? If spreading word about these forks reduces struggles at holiday tables, this might also spread a bit more peace around the world.
And, by the way, if cracking a crab intimidates you a little, just check out this neat video.