Margaret Bell and the Saga of the Shrimp

Assignment time! Except this time it might be just a wee bit late. You see, my last guess as to what my current assignment would be wasn’t too far off. I guessed that I would have to make Lobster Thermidor, joking about how hard the ingredients are to procure with these Culinary Arts assignments I’ve been getting. I was not entirely incorrect.

My current assignment is to de-shell, de-vein, and boil raw shrimp. You think it wouldn’t be too difficult, but it is a royal pain. For one thing, raw shrimp would be much easier to come by if you lived in, say, Oregon. Anywhere on the coast would be good. I live in Minnesota. We are not famous for fresh, local seafood.

Chef Tip: Never buy seafood from a truck with an Iowa license plate

So what should I do? I was still working and recruited my mom to help me get the shrimp. Not being one to trust Walmart seafood we went with our next best bet: Hyvee. For those of you outside of the United States or simply unfamiliar with a Hyvee, it’s very similiar to a Kroger and much more reputable than a Walmart when it comes to freshness.

Not seeing any raw, on-the-shell shrimp, my mother asked about it to the chef. He laughed. He realized she was serious. He got the manager. He laughed. Also realized she was serious. Eventually, they had to go to the very back of the store and ask the bloke who was in charge of unloading the bulk food itself and make the request. He laughed. Then laughed at my teacher when he realized what she was asking for. We eventually got a hold of four, raw shrimps with the shells on. Four shrimps. Four.

I’m kind of wondering what on earth was going through my teachers head when she made this assignment – maybe it isn’t her fault – but considering my follow-up assignment requires an hour of volunteer service and a full interview with a culinary work place, maybe I’ll just stick with an Art Class next year.



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