Wow. Well, yeah, so last night was an experience for me. A “first,” I suppose you could say. Let me begin by saying this: At my ripe age of 35, I was well aware that when buying shrimp there were options: frozen, previously frozen, pre-cooked, raw, peeled & deveined, yaddah yaddah yaddah.
Growing up, we would feast on pounds of hot spiced peel & eat shrimp. And, at times, I would come across one of those black stringy things inside my shrimp and say “MOM! This one has poop in it!” and she would just …. well … as memory has it … she would ignore me. And I’m pretty sure my Dad did, too, because I think he was so engrossed in peeling and eating that he probably didn’t even hear me.
Based on these childhood experiences, I guess I always thought THOSE were the shrimp that were not deveined. Not to mention the bazillion times I’ve prepared shrimp for myself and Brad Pitt. I’ve always bought shrimp of the deveined variety. And, yet, still came across one or two with that skinny black strip of “vein” that had to be scraped out.
Let me tell you.
LAST NIGHT WAS DIFFERENT.
My focus these days has been more on where the shrimp came from, farm-raised versus wild caught, sort of thing, because Brad Pitt wrote an in-depth story on the matter and it was mind boggling finding out how many chemicals are added to the shrimp that most of us eat. He returned from his shrimping adventures with a nice aversion to the plump prawns. It took months before I could convince him to eat some. So, last night, he took great joy in watching me suffer as I prepared dinner.
As I said I was so focused on buying the “right kind” of shrimp that I didn’t pay much attention (or care) if it was deveined. Plus, as I also mentioned, I figured deveining was as easy as yelling MOM there is poop in the shrimp and just lightly scraping it off.
Well. It is NOT.
I had no idea how utterly disgusting it was to devein shrimp. I scored an incredible price on these HUGE wild caught shrimp from Argentina. But, that saying “the bigger-the-dog-the-bigger-the-poop” can most definitely be applied to shrimp. Holy mother of all things disgusting. These shrimp were filled with the nastiest, gooey shit-filled-veins anyone could imagine. [Again, apparently I had no idea what deveined versus not deveined meant up until this point. I sure as fuck do now.]
Brad Pitt sat across from me as I peeled each shrimp, thinly sliced it along its backside and then fought the urge to gag as I scooped out each vein. My memory of the entire event has been repressed into a deep, dark place by now, but I do recall trying to close my eyes and go for each vein blindly. Which didn’t work because nine times out of ten I missed and had to open my eyes and touch it again. By the point I was shivering with disgust and exclaiming “Oh Fuck, Oh Fuck, Fuuuuuuck, Ewwww, Oh God, Fuuuuuuuuck” Brad Pitt was rolling in his chair with laughter.
NOTE: The above photo is an “after” photo. “After” I painfully scooped out every single shit-filled-vein and then turned them into blackened shrimp for our jambalaya dinner.