Sunday, May 10, 2009
Why not beautiful bouquet or expensive dinner but abalones on Mother's Day? Because I suppose Mother's Day is the day that we do something for mom and/or let her do what she likes to do the most. My mom loves picking abalones. And since last Saturday was the spring tide day, the tide still fell quite a lot on the next day (Mother's Day), too. So there was nowhere else on this planet that my mom wanted to be but the beach -- more precisely, some particular big rocks that appear only when the tide is lowest in the spring tide. And I went with her to keep her company. (But once we start picking, we don't care much about each other. :P)
This type of abalones in the above photo live in the cracks of big rocks. You have to have experienced eyes to be able to find them because they look just the same as the surface of the rock. Now my mom is having difficulties when reading books and newspaper, but when looking for abalones, her eyes are nothing but hawk eyes. Honestly. And didn't I tell you that she walks very slow because of her bad leg? Amazingly enough, it doesn't bother her at all when picking abalones.
These are the "must haves" for abalone pickers here. We used to wear old sneakers, but they were slippery on wet rocks. Then mom bought these special footwear a few years ago. The upper part is as soft as socks but the toes and the bottom are covered with thick, tough rubber-like material. And the soles are slip resistant. Neat stuff. Mom and I don't want neighbors to see us when we are in these extremely eye-catching footwear, so we carry them in a bag until we get on the beach and then get changed there. LOL
The metal stick is flat on one end and has a hook on the other end. When you find an abalone, you insert the flat end between the shellfish and the surface of the rock, and hit the other end with a piece of stone until the abalone is detached from the rock. Then you take the abalone out of the crack using the hook. Sometimes it's difficult, but it's so much fun!
I guess mom and I picked about 40 to 50 abalones altogether. Mom cooked them in a pressure cooker. Actually this type of abalones usually turn VERY chewy when cooked, and we used to enjoy picking but hate eating them. Then one day one of the relatives taught mom that a pressure cooker could cook them quite soft, and now we can enjoy both picking AND eating them.
But still I think we always pick more than we can enjoy eating.