This summer we trekked north to spend quality time with lovely family. An added bonus … the entire state of Michigan is more than 10 degrees cooler than what is currently happening in our own front yard. Let’s just say … sweating is optional during their summer months.

On the laidback agenda were activities like relaxing, lake fishing for the boys and lots of board games. My new favorite is Catan, a strategy board game where you build settlements, cities and roads. I had never heard of it before, but apparently it has quite a following. Oh, and did you know Michigan has lots of quaint little towns for strolling, shopping and lunching? I should really write a summer travel book about the state. Unfortunately, I woulda had to stay longer than five days.

Did I mention the Friday night all-you-can-eat snow crab buffet at a local casino? This was something our hosts thankfully chiseled in granite for our last night in Michigan. It was also talked about often by our host. Bruce LOVES snow crabs. I have to say he isn’t the only one.

Before that night, I can’t recall ever ingesting crab meat from an actual snow crab leg. I felt certain it would taste like the Texas blue crab Rick and I have caught over the decades with “ripe” chicken necks for bait at the end of thick cotton string in Galveston. Only this time, there would be lots more crab meat to show for it. And let’s face it … except for the claw … Texas crabs aren’t known for the meat in those skinny legs.

When Friday night came, the anticipation finally turned into reality. The lavish buffet included so much more than snow crab. As we strolled toward the stack of empty dinner plates, my left eyeball briefly lingered on the dessert extravaganza bar. Looking around the restaurant, it was clear everyone in the place knew … we are talkin’ Celine Dion at Caesar’s Palace … snow crab WAS the star of the show. The only thing missing from my pile of steamed snow crab was a diamond tiara!

When the six of us sat down with our plates piled high, Bruce pulled out his special snow crab leg “remover” from his pocket. He had a couple of them to share. They reminded me of a crochet hook. Bruce demonstrated how after pulling apart one of the crab legs, the handy utensil is applied on one end and slices the hard shell down the length. Out popped a chunk of snow crab meat. I imagined this is what it must have felt like when the caveman invented the wheel.

The buffet hostess assigned to our table brought each of us something that resembled a nut cracker. I struggled a bit with their version but managed to get my fair share of the delicious snow crab meat. Then I looked over at hubby. I was still on my first snow crab. Rick and Bruce were probably on their third. My dude has a fair amount of Cajun blood running through his veins and offered another alternative on how to “crack” the snow crab code.

“First you remove the crab leg from the body of the crab. Next remove the knuckle from the end of the leg. Notice how the long tendons come out with the knuckle. Take the crab leg and break apart the segments,” Rick stated.

Hubby explained how each segment had an air pocket on the ends. Next, using his fingers he took the segment and cracked it back and forth in the center of the leg segment. The hard shell easily snapped apart in his hands and out popped the delicious contents. Our mouths flew open and eyeballs widened as Rick pulled the meat out with such little effort. Even more interesting was when my lovely daughter-in-law, Kate, and her mom tried the trick. It was like electricity flying through their fingertips as the crab segment went “crack” and the crab meat pulled out from the claw.

Is it too soon to start plannin’ for next year? I’m all about cooler vacation possibilities … and the mandatory snow crab buffet.


Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 21 years. Email comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also visit Dixie’s blog at




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