I recently got back from a tour of the oyster farms and crab plants of Bayou La Batre, an area of coastal Alabama that feels very similar to southern Louisiana in flavor: live oak trees, winding roads, friendly people, good food. If you ever wondered why fresh crabmeat can be so expensive, check out this short video of an expert crab picker at the great little plant called Dana's Seafood.

Talk about finicky work. I later turned a pound of "dark" meat into a fennel-inflected spicy tomato soup: delicious. The dark meat comes from the claws, and the locals prefer it: sweeter, more flavor. The lighter, lump crab meat, which costs more, is shipped north.