Marina Gomberg: The seafood is calling and I’m answering every time

Recent health issues, and a dose of steroids, has made our columnist ravenous for shellfish.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Marina Gomberg.

Yesterday had become today before I realized how long I had been in the dark watching lay people’s online tutorial videos about the “proper” way to pick and eat Maryland blue crabs.

Quite the controversy about the yellow stuff inside referred to as mustard. (For the record, I’m on Team “It’s Delicious.”)

I love me some culinary drama.

I wasn’t watching as much for technique as vicarious pleasure. I get why they call it “food porn.”

Despite being exhausted, having meditated, popped a CBD gummy, and being surrounded by perfectly cool air, white noise and doggo snuggles, sleep was being stand-off-ish.

She doesn’t like the steroids.

Neither do I, but they’re whooshing through me with a fury while I push through this latest health struggle. It might not have helped that while I sat for hours getting my regular infusion yesterday, the lit up logo of the nearby Red Lobster restaurant stared back at me. The word “SHRIMP” would show itself when the wind blew the flag in front of it aside.

As the sun went down, the alpenglow on the mountains valiantly vied for my attention, but lost. You’re a 10; you’re just not a delectable crustacean, cutie.

This newer med, and at this higher dose, is a wild trip. The insatiable and carnal lust for seafood, shellfish in particular (no, I’m not kosher), surpasses any pregnancy craving I ever had — maybe even all of them together. “Extreme” and “severe” are the words that come to mind.

Bathe me in Old Bay.

My dad said it’s better to rip the heads off shrimp than loved ones, so I’m Sheryl-Sandberg-ing into this primal desire.

Turns out, I had never had shrimp with the heads on until last week. I think I’m a new woman. A better woman. A woman I think my grandpa Norm would be proud of. He passed away when I was a baby, but would have turned 100 last week, and I’m celebrating my bloodline-driven love of food from the sea with him on my mind.

Or I’ve clearly become as unhinged as those cracked red shells. Maybe you really are what you eat. (No wonder I’m drawn to the jumbo shrimp.)

I keep thinking I have a problem. But then I remember there are some great solutions even here in our landlocked state. In fact, there’s a new-to-me Cajun seafood boil place in Salt Lake City that I could likely be sustaining single-handedly. I might need to consider another job or a GoFundMe account to support this habit if I can’t get off the ‘roids soon. (Why does Utah have to be so far inland?)

I’ve ordered from there no fewer than a half of a dozen times in the last two weeks (and will again today), and my favorite was last Friday, when our 6-year-old son’s after-school program was closed, so he was home early when the feast arrived.

To my blissful delight — although not to my surprise, since Harvey is a comfortable and curious food lover — he dove right in. Ferociously.

OK, a tiny fraction of me was watching him devour my shrimp with reservation. But I think, like my grandpa shared with my dad and my dad has shared with me, there’s something about the communal experience of connecting over food that makes any parent willing to be a little hungry for their kiddo’s joy. Parental satisfaction wins over belly satiation, I guess.

I’ll just adjust the order next time so I don’t have to choose. Relatedly: I’m now accepting sponsors (I definitely think I’ve gone pro at this point). I jest, but I am accepting Salt Lake Valley seafood recommendations, if you can spare me the news about the disappearing crab devastation.


Marina Gomberg is a professional communicator, a practicing optimist and a lover of love. She lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey, and their dog, Mr. Noodle. You can reach Marina at mgomberg@sltrib.com.

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