I am looking forward to a trip down south, to answer the siren song of the sea. The ocean waits patiently for me to find the time to respond to its constant call. This year I am going to answer. It took me a while.
A year and a half ago, my son-in-law, Rodney, suggested to my daughter, Heather, that she and I should plan for a trip to the beach in the spring (spring of 2017, that is). We immediately embraced the idea, but by the time we got around to making the necessary decisions there was literally no room in anybody’s inn.
With steely determination, we set our sights on this spring and began to plan seriously. Neither of Heather’s sisters could make it happen to join us on a road trip for all the girls, but other than that glitch the master plan actually came together. We leave in less than a week.
We both enjoy driving, so we’ll drive down and have a car to go back and forth while we’re away. Our accommodations are at a lovely bed and breakfast inn on the Intercoastal Waterway, not far from the beach. We both have a count going to keep track of the days left before our trip.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother lately. I remember distinctly one really good piece of advice she gave me. “If there’s something you want to do, do it now, while you can,” she said. “One day you’ll look in the mirror and somebody old will be looking back.”
My mother and I, and my children, aunts and cousins had some lovely trips to the ocean over the years. I remember every one of them — where we stayed, the seafood we ate, and the sight, sound and smell of the ocean. The anticipation was wonderful, but never was better than the experience. Not to mention the memories.
So, if not now, when?
Here’s a sample of the food we look forward to during our time at the North Carolina coast.
SHE CRAB SOUP
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 quart milk
2 cups crab meat and eggs
3 drops onion juice
1/8 teaspoon mace
Tabasco sauce to taste
salt and white pepper to taste
dry sherry, warmed
1/4 pint cream, whipped
minced parsley for garnish
Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler and blend with the flour until smooth. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly.
Add crab meat with eggs and all the seasonings, except the sherry. Cook slowly over the hot water for 20 minutes. To serve, place a tablespoon of warmed sherry in each soup bowl, then add the soup and top with whipped cream.
Sprinkle with parsley. If she crabs are not available, chop the yolks of hard-boiled eggs into the bowls before the soup is added.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at email@example.com.