Foods that take SO MUCH effort to eat

I went by, probably, the best oriental market in the state and they had live blue crabs kicking and clawing in a box on the floor. As I live in North Central Alabama, this is a sight rarely seen (Sampiro can agree), so I splurged and bought a dozen ($3.99/pound). I just got finished with dinner (steamed with old bay) and nearly an hour after the kids* left the table, I finished cleaning up the last one.

My question is what foods take so much effort to eat with as little to show for as blue crab (artichokes are way up there, too, I realize)?

*I taught my son (Arzi) and his friend how to eat a non-snow crab. I wonder if this is going to be a dieing food art.

Oh, yeah, definitely artichokes.
Unshelled sunflower seeds.
Small crab legs.


As soon as I saw the thread title, I thought “steamed crabs”! By which I mean the popular Maryland blue crab, of course.

They are tasty, but one gets tired of picking them long before one gets full! This is why a proper “crab feast” (which was popular when I was growing up in a suburb of Baltimore in the late 60s/early 70s) also featured: crab soup, crab cakes, steamed corn, and possibly hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill!

I also heartily agree with pomegranates. Yeah, they taste good. But, IMHO, they are so not worth the trouble!

Fresh water “hairy” crabs from Yancheng Lake in China. Tasty but I lose patience after 2

I’ve had those. Artichokes definitely. When I’m rich I’m going to hire a chef to trim them down to the hearts and deep fry them.

My 1964 edition of “The Joy of Cooking” begins the section on lobster with this horribly politically incorrect story (which no doubt is absent from more recent editions): When preparing lobster, one is reminded of the little cannibal boy who saw a wrecked airplane. He asked his mother what it was. She replied, "It’s like a lobster. You have the throw most of it away, but the insides are delicious!

Same is true for crabs.

Generally being a big fan of all things New Orleans, I will add boiled crawfish----I think that they taste pretty good, but are nowhere near worth the work it takes to get full. There are about a dozen other Crescent City specialties that I will go for ahead of the mudbugs…

This was going to be my answer.

That is the whole point of crawfish boils though. They taste great if they are cooked in the correct boil mix but you can never get full from them. You can just hang out at a party with a giant table covered in mounds of them all day long and into the night while drinking beer. It takes a minor amount of skill to eat them but anyone can learn it in 5 minutes or less. If you truly get truly hungry, a real crawfish boil also includes potatoes and onions. I assume you have never been to one of the bigger crawfish parties. Those have thousands of mudbugs spread out for the feast usually outdoors. The fun is in the eating and drinking.

I don’t eat shellfish. I don’t have a religious or health reason, really, I just don’t like them.

I DO eat artichokes, pomegranates, and pumpkin seeds, though. One of the reasons I eat pumpkin seeds, besides the fact that I like them, is that they DO take a while to crack and eat. So, I get the feeling that I’m snacking, but I’m not taking in a lot of calories.

Pomegranates are just an occasional treat, as are artichokes, because they are so tedious to eat. Usually I’ll share one with my daughter, and we’ll sit and talk while we eat the goody.

So it seems the agreement is crab, artichokes, and pomegranates. The menu from hell.

Crayfish are not really that bad compared to blue crab. The only real accessible parts are the tail and what you can suck out of the head. I will grant you that peeling the tails is no great fun, but it isn’t that difficult. Maybe it’d be different if they were those Tazmanian giant crayfish and you’d want to get every morsel out of the legs.

I will have to get out my Joy of Cooking 2ndEd to look for that passage. I have it (inherited from my mother) and the 3rd. Good books.

I’ve never had uni (sea urchin roe). But everytime I have seen it procured, it seems a bit anticlimactic and downright wasteful. Evolutionarily, as soon as something wants to kill you only for your eggs or private parts, irregardless of your frikking spiked armor! Well, that’s when I wonder about their long term survivability.


As long as you don’t eat too many, you can just eat sunflower-seeds (shell and all) whole.

That said, eat too many (or chew too little) and you will deeply regret it. About 12 hours later, from my experience.


Lotsa fiber…Scratches the itch that scratches ya.

Didja ever try to peel a rutabaga? They are the toughest little bastards in the turnip family. Their fatass shape almost guarantees that at some point, your knife will slip and gouge into your thumb. Rutabagas are the most vicious bloodthirsty vegetables I’ve ever handled, and I believe we should blame their Viking heritage for that, racism be damned. Spiteful, nasty little buggers.

It’s a shame they taste so good.

If you have a yoke type peeler rutabagas aren’t so bad to peel. Sometimes they’re called european peelers.

Thanks. Maybe I’ll check those out.

I have a tip for pomegranate lovers. If you don’t want the hassle of picking and poking through them, get a large bowl of water. Cut the pomegranate into quarters and submerge each piece while rubbing off the seeds. The seeds will sink and the peelings will float. Drain, and voila! A bowlful of pomegranate seeds to eat by the handful.

Of course, sometimes it’s very pleasant to eat them the old, slow way.

I’d post a link to one but can’t seem to find any good images and for some reason the filter here at work doesn’t like half the links that google brings up. I’ve elevated them to indispensable status though.

Can you steam rutabagas with the peel on and then peel them easily, with a shrugging of the skin away from the tuber like beets, turnips, and potatoes? I’ve eaten fresh rutabagas but never cooked them?