Choose your newspaper carefully. Then take a boiled crab and turn it over. Admire how its legs are not so different to those of the human (in the photo, obviously).

You will need some newspaper, a hammer (or pestle), and some pointy implements.

Remove the two large claws.  Turn back over and clutch back of shell with both hands. Bash face of crab against work surface to loosen the ‘basket’ (the piece that all the crab’s legs are attached to). Pull it out, along with the legs.  Wrap the legs in newspaper and hit with a hammer to break the shell for easier eating.

Take the basket, and scrape away the crab’s ‘lungs’ – these are 1-2cm long, and look like feathery leaves – they cannot be eaten.  Check inside the main body of the crab for any more, and throw away.  Using a large knife, cut the basket into three sections. Take a skewer or other long implement to loosen the white meat from inside all of the little channels.

Wrap the little legs in newspaper, and bash with a hammer to break them down for easier eating.  Take one claw and stand it on its side – either hit with a hammer, or with the back of a heavy chefs knife, to crack the shell.  If you do it carefully, you should be able to break off the

Scoop brown meat out from the main body of the crab, and put in one bowl.  Place the white meat in another.

If you are using the meat for a dish rather than eating straight from the shell, lay the white meat out on a large tray. Move your fingers through it exploring and feeling for any pieces of shell. Do this several times, rotating the tray by 90 degrees each time.  Press the brown meat through a sieve.  Shell is very easy to miss!

Eat with any utensil you own. I choose two fondue forks, a carving fork, and something I can’t identify.  Drink a white.  Perhaps a muscadet, or something dry and minerally from the Loire.  Winter room temperatures can eliminate the effort of chilling ahead.  Complete crossword if not too sozzled.

Thanks to Gaulaleh at, who encouraged me in my crab-eating (and drinking), and does wonderful things with shellfish.