When Maryland blue crabs hit the table, they are not blue at all, but red– a combination of the cooking process and the Old Bay Seasoning poured on them when they are piled into the steamer. And they really do hit the table– slid off of a tray directly onto the kraft-paper-covered table right in front of hungry eaters. Armed only with dull knives and wooden hammers, they begin breaking the crabs apart to nibble on the sweet meat inside. It’s a methodical process that cannot be rushed, often lasting hours and making space for extended conversation punctuated by exclamations of pleasure. Still, despite its slowness, it inexorably leads to a feeling of profound fullness. By the time you’re plodding through your last crab, your hands are caked with seasoning and the juice of every crab you’ve pulled apart, and your fingers are seasoning every succulent bite.