WRIR? Never heard of it.

Until now, that is.  My daughters each have a WRIR  T-Shirt that they sport.  I never really noticed.  Then I started following journalist Chris Dovi on Facebook because 90% of the time he has great commentary on important subjects, 5% of the time I don’t know what he’s talking about, and 5% of the time he’s just plain cuckoo.  Then he asked if I wanted to do an interview on this all volunteer low wattage FM station.  Sure, I said, even if I mess up there’s probably only a couple of listeners anyway.

First I decided to give them a listen.  There was this hour long African drum beat and chant that pretty much made me want to go out and cut the grass.  Another time it was an elderly woman from Appalachia that performed mountain music singing that sounded like she caught her big toe in a bear trap.

Then I caught some NPR type interviews, revealing stuff.  When I heard some local interviews, also enlightening, I started listening more and more:  when I could get reception that is.  It turns out to be my station of choice now.

So I gave my interview and talked about the dining scene; more, actually, about the lack of professionalism in so many restaurants.   Afterwards Chris asked if I’d like to do a regular ‘show’ focusing on Richmond’s growing world of restaurants.  It seems I have a face made for radio.

Thus was hatched “Product, Passion and Salt”, a 20 minute interview show.  My first one aired yesterday Friday at around 4:20 p.m. where I interviewed Michael Byrne, former owner of Richbrau, about the Virginia ABC, its role and the distinction between restaurants that serve alcohol and bars that serve food.  You should be able to catch it by going to their website (WRIR.org — Opensource, Friday June 13th).  It airs again today around the same time.

So, if I don’t screw things up I’ll be doing this the second Friday of each month.  But really, have I ever screwed anything up?




I take it that you’ve indulged in eating some soft shell crabs already this season.  But do you really understand how the crab got that way?  It never ceases to amaze me when customers, and other chefs, watch a blue crab molt for the first time.  Although they have all eaten their share of soft shell crabs it’s evident that they never really understood the process.  I admit to my own lack of understanding in the beginning.  When I first moved to Urbanna, Virginia, over twenty five years ago, I became totally and utterly fascinated with the entire crab shedding process, from capture to digestion.  The local crabbers were more than generous in sharing their knowledge with me.

Now I would like to share with you some of what I have been taught .

The molting, or shedding, process begins with a ‘peeler’.  Actually, it all begins with the blue crab, callinectes sapidus.  In order for it and all crustaceans to grow it needs to molt, or ‘shed’ its shell.  In the days before it is ready to actually shed, it develops a ‘sign’ on its backfins that indicates it is a peeler.  The color of the sign tells the crabbers just how close it is to shedding: a white line tells us that it is a ‘green’, a pink sign tells us that it is a ‘ripe’, and a dark red sign tells us that it is a ‘cherry ripe’ or ‘rank’ and shedding is imminent.  The discovery of the art of reading the fins was the key to making this a viable industry. Read the rest of this entry »