Lila invited me to go crabbing with her in Crab Creek. Though I had never been before, I eagerly threw on my bikini, polar fleece jacket, and floppy sun hat and trekked out to Lila's Flat Point Farm on Martha's Vineyard.
She was waiting for me with a long-handled net in one hand and a bucket in the other. We jumped into her rickety motor boat and sped towards the sandy bluff that separates the Atlantic ocean from crashing into this serene pond. I followed her lead as she stripped off her pants and plopped into the waist-high water, clutching her sweatshirt tight on this chilly October afternoon. We hunted through the reed-lined creek, slowly but not quietly, peering through the water for our prey. When I found my first crab a wave of fear raced up from my toes and through my body until a gutteral scream exploded out of my mouth. I knew it was relatively harmless but I was terrified as I saw the sea spider racing towards me. With Lila's coaching, I plunged my net down and scooped up the crab, screaming bloody murder the whole time. Lila waded towards me congratulating me on the first catch of the day as she tried to catch her breath from belly-laughing.
After three hours of crabbing, yelping, and laughing we headed back to the boat with three male "keeper" crabs in our bucket. Lila stopped abruptly in her tracks. She reached down to pick up some seaweed and examine it in the setting sun. She suggested we harvest some and take it home to cook. I asked her how she knew it was safe to eat. Her eyes widened as she responded: "Katie, when something is this beautiful, it is obviously meant to be eaten." Loving her earnest logic, I scooped up as much of the gorgeous emerald algea as I could and added it to our bounty bucket.
The next day Lila came over to my pasta lab. We washed our seaweed and set it to dry on paper towels. Lila went to work arranging green clumps on the sheets of pasta dough I had rolled out as canvases for the seaweed artist. I rolled the adorned sheets through the pasta machine again to marry the seaweed and dough. Lila cut the seaweed dough into different shapes for ravioli. She mixed and matched different designs for each side of the pasta pouch. We made a filling out of the crab meat and her sister's homemade goat cheese and stuffed it into the designer dough, carefully sealing the ravioli edges so as not to lose a drop of this precious wild food.