The Maine Dish
Shrimp season: Maine’s apology for her harsh demeanor
I cringed when I looked at the thermometer this morning. When the temperature outside needs to warm up a good 45 degrees before an ice cube will melt on the lawn, you know it’s cold.
Around this time of year I find myself looking at the calendar and realizing there’s a good two months of this nonsense left, and I start to feel stupid for living in such a cold state. Then I start thinking about what it would be like to leave Maine for a more temperate locale and BOOM! Like an insecure lover, Maine turns on the charm and woos me back every time with her secret weapon: shrimp season. They’re Maine’s way of saying, “I hear you. You’re right and I’ve been cold. Please give me another chance. Let’s make the best of it together.”
And know what? I’m such a sucker. It works every time. That warm feeling I get when I see those sketchy plywood boxes nestled into the beds of pickup trucks on the side of the road, their hanging scales blowing gently in the subarctic breeze while the thermally impotent sun illuminates bright cobalt eggs nestled under tiny pink tails…well, I just can’t stay mad at her.
When I dump my bag of roadside shrimp into a roiling pot of court bouillon, I feel loved by my state, and for a couple of weeks in the middle of this frozen hell we call winter, I can forget how frigid and moody she can be.
Note: The 2013 shrimp season starts on January 22 for trawlers and February 5 for trappers. But the pickings will be slim as the catch limit has been cut by almost 75% due to overfishing. So if you see them, grab them.