July 4th Holiday Open Thread: Foods Of Summer

Happy impending holiday! We at Consumerist HQ are taking the next two days off to eat inadvisable things, because fireworks are illegal in the jurisdictions where 75% of our staffers live, and we have to have fun somehow.  So “somehow” involves bacon. Anyway, that made us think: what are your favorite summer foods, either at home or for sharing at picnics and other gatherings? Feel free to swap recipes in this open thread, or just discuss anything else that’s on your mind.

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    Bacon wrapped bottle rockets!!!

  2. tbax929 says:

    Living in Southern AZ, I rarely eat anything other than a sandwich, ice cream, a fruit salad, or an Eegee (think slushy but tastier) in the summer time. While most folks are out during the summer, I tend to hibernate and wait for autumn. It’s just too hot.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I want an Eegee. But now that bf is no longer bf, I’ll never go there again. :'(

      • tbax929 says:

        I don’t know what “bf is no longer bf” means, but if you need an eegee’s hookup, I got your back.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          It means boyfriend who lives there is no longer boyfriend because he dumped me.

          :'(

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        oh, there are plenty of other reasons to go to AZ, not just for the happy fun relationship times.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          That was the ONLY reason I had to go there.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            i like camping up in northern AZ near the grand canyon.
            you could be following old route 66.
            i happen to know the tusayan grand canyon village just got a whole new upgraded digital theatre experience at their grand canyon schtick/tourist trap.
            or you could go for the express purpose of getting one of those slushee things that started this thread.
            once i went 350 miles out of my way from florida to colorado to get a cup of coffee and some beignets at the cafe du monde in new orleans, so i am familiar with going places just for the tasty treats.
            also, he’s not good enough for you anyway!!

    • pamelad says:

      I live in Southern AZ, too. In my part of the desert, the July 4th afternoon rain was beautiful! Celebrate rain! Then It cleared up in time for fireworks.

      We had some barbecued baby back ribs and potato salad, then saw the main Tucson fireworks display from a perch on a hill while sitting on the tailgate of husband’s pickup truck. Perfect temperature, no wind, great view of fireworks, nice display for a city of its size, no traffic getting out of there. It was idyllic.

  3. Tegan says:

    Well, not necessarily food, but my new favourite obsession is lemonade + blueberry vodka. So simple, yet so incredibly delicious. Dangerously delicious, even. I mix mine about 60/40 in favor of the vodka, and it still doesn’t taste strong at all. Light, refreshing, and after about three you’ll be having a blast.

    On the food front, while not necessarily summery, I saw a website yesterday suggesting that you fill wonton wrappers with hummus then pan fry. Turns out it’s incredibly delicious, and not just with the hummus. We tried two kinds of hummus and three kinds of cheese, all were extremely tasty and very easy to make. We’re thinking of making desserty ones with jam and such inside.

    • Artist Formerly known as HRGirl says:

      Lemonade and blueberry vodka sounds delish. I just did a little weekend trip and we spent the whole time drinking creamsicles: orange soda and whipped cream vodka.

    • tbax929 says:

      I am totally trying this tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!

    • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

      Get a group of friends. G

      • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

        HATE!:

        Get a group of friends. Get a pickle jar or other gallon jar and clean it well out. Put a fifth of flavored vodka in it (even cheapie UV stuff). Add 1/2 cup sugar. Cut up 3 lemons and 2 limes and add to jar. Fill remainder with ice. Wrap in a towel and ‘shake the baby’ for 15 minutes until sugar is all dissolved.

        Pass delicious alcohol around with friends in a circle.
        Attempt to stand and fail.
        Winning!

        • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

          Almost like what we sometimes make in the summer – Swamp Water (which is that basic recipe with a thawed container frozen lime-ade concentrate).

          • nugatory says:

            I like to eat my alcohol.

            Try getting a turkey syringe and filling with vodka. Then stab a watermelon and inject the alcohol. Put the watermelon in the fridge and you can now eat your alcohol

            • raydeebug says:

              I have a tupperware of vodka and pineapple juice gummi bears. They’re like 3x as big as they were originally. I eat a couple and it’s like “mm.”

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      We’ve been pouring a lot of lemonade + American Honey whiskey lately. It’s the perfect complement to a summer night on the back deck.

      Will have to try the blueberry mix and see how it compares. It may take several samples to get a solid decision, but I’m up for the challenge.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      oooh, i have tahini, chick peas and wonton wrappers at home right now. and i love fried wontons. i think this is tomorrow’s lunch. thanks!

  4. Smiling says:

    I love fresh fruit, especially mango and peaches.

  5. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Is there anything more summer than a BLT and a beer?

    • tbax929 says:

      A BLT and a beer at a baseball game? Or pretty much any food when consumed at a baseball game. Our minor league team does Thirsty Thursdays, where beer is $1.50. Even though it’s Bud (certainly not my favorite), I find it hard to pass up.

    • Cacao says:

      BLTs are very refreshing.

  6. alastria says:
  7. Artist Formerly known as HRGirl says:

    Hollaaaa! an excuse to pimp my food blog. Lots of good summer stuff on there but here’s a whole Latin-inspired BBQ menu: http://stumblingtoyum.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/terrace-time/

    The coconut lime sorbet and mango moscato granita are amazing alone but completely addictive together.

  8. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    We grew up with every big summer celebration ending with homemade vanilla ice cream and a dessert we called “cherry stuff.” It was cherry cobbler made of cherry pie filling, white cake mix, and butter. I am actually making it today for a work potluck. Now that I’m grown, I usually make my own filling out of whatever fruit I have around the house, but I can’t argue with the classic.

    Our other favorite summer treat was “fruit pizza” made by my godmom. It was a giant sugar cookie with cream cheese spread over it and ever lovely summer fruit artfully placed on top. So sweet and yummy!

    • ChuckECheese says:

      That cherry thing you’re talking about is usually called “Dump Cake.” It can also be made with pumpkin pie filling.

    • frodolives35 says:

      YUM fruit pizza is the best. Use the juice from the canned pineapples and peaches add a little cornstarch to thicken and it makes a great fruit pizza sauce.

    • tailspin says:

      the actual name for that is “dump cake”. it’s great with apple pie filling too. NOM.

      my fave summer food is Mexican corn — grilled corn brushed with a mixture of mayo and lime juice, then sprinkled with chili powder.

  9. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Watermelon, I guess. I like a good juicy sweet watermelon when it’s hot. Cooled, but not too cold or it hurts my teeth.

    Right now I don’t really care about much of anything though. I’m supposed to go to a picnic tomorrow but I don’t care. I kind of hope it’s fun but I don’t expect it will be. I won’t get to talk to my friend (who will be busy with her kids) and I don’t know anyone else.

    • Kuchen says:

      I don’t really like watermelon that much, but I have eaten a ton of it this summer because my 2-year-old is currently OBSESSED with it. We have pretty much bought a watermelon every time we have been to the store in the last month. Sometimes, she will eat just a giant plate of watermelon for a meal.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      an opening line you might want to try:
      “hello, i’m a complete stranger here. how are you?”

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        LOL maybe I’ll try that.

        Unfortunately, what I’ll probably get is “I’m fine! Can I tell you about JEEEEESUUUUUSS!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

        *eye roll*

        If I get that, I’ll say “No thanks, I’m a Druid,” and walk away. ;)

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          sounds like a plan!

        • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

          You made me laugh! Seriously, I would go to the picnic. The worst that can happen is that you go, you eat too much good food, and you go home. Best case scenario, you meet some people that have similar interests, and you have good conversations and good food.

          Either which way, there’s still good food involved.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            Yes, that’s what I was thinking. I will drive myself so if I feel weepy, I can just leave. I’m still getting random attacks of bawling now and then.

            I definitely think I need to get some waterproof mascara. It’s getting annoying having it run down my face all the time.

            • Laura Northrup says:

              Prescriptives used to make the best waterproof mascara. They’re gone now, of course.

              My friend’s ringing endorsement: “I wore it to my mother’s funeral, and it didn’t run.”

    • frodolives35 says:

      Sounds like a good opportunity to meet your new prince charming.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        At a church picnic, for a church I don’t belong to? Highly unlikely. :P I’ve lived here for 11 years and have met NO ONE. I hate it here and wish its Jesus-thumping redneck asshattery would burn.

        I’d leave but

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          oops,

          I’d leave but unemployment has sucked out all my money, and HE WAS MY LAST CHANCE.

        • scoosdad says:

          Hogwarts, I’ve lived in my present house for 17 years and until last week really only knew the people on the other side of the wall from me, and the people in the next house up. I was out in the front yard and a dog I hadn’t seen before ran over to me, chased by its owner. Turns out she’s owned the house across from me as long as I’ve lived here but has been an absentee landlord until last month when she moved back in. We chatted, she found out I had dogs (well, dog now), and now she wants to be my best friend.

          So the other night in the dark at 9:30 PM my doorbell rang and there was Crazy Dog Lady Neighbor standing there with three dogs on a leash out for a walk, and she wanted to bring them all inside for a visit. My own (remaining) dog was going crazy inside the house and was not about to be social with three strange dogs and a woman he’d never seen before in his house, and I had to politely decline. A very strange encounter.

          Not sure what this has to do with your post or food on the 4th, but I just wanted to chime in here with some encouragement for your situation. None of us knows each other very well but you can tell who the good guys are here. You’ve always been one of those. Take care and hope everything turns out for the best for you. Hang in there.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            OMG L! O! L!

            There’s this weird lady that lives on the corner who came walking down here four hours AFTER I closed down my last garage sale, asking if she could look at leftovers. I was caught off guard and was like, “Um, sure.” She said she’d be back and then never came back. If she does it again next time I have one, I’m just going to flat out say “No, I’m sorry, but the sale is over.” I had a sign posted right on the corner by her house and it was on Saturday, etc. So she had no reason not to come then. Just scoping for freebies, would be my guess. :P

            Also, the picnic was okay, and also kind of torture. Nice people, ALL of them families with kids, though. I did get to talk to my friends and hold the baby, which was nice. Also I blew up several balloons for some of the kids, ate good food and was the sole spectator for an impromptu Fourth of July parade. Then I left, feeling the hole beside me as never before.

  10. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I just treated myself to a Ninja blender set from QVC. My Mom also gave me a cookbook from QVC called “Eat More of What You Love”. It turns out to have lower calorie recipes of common foods, so you can still eat good tasting stuff without all the calories. A true Mom gift!

    So far I’ve made two things: Mango Tango Smoothie and Cherry Lemonade Freeze. OMG so good and when made with fresh or frozen fruit and Truvia, so low cal! I also bought some vanilla protein powder to mix in with the fruit smoothies for breakfast instead of cereal.

    My favorite picnic food to share is bacon wrapped water chestnuts in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. 1/3 slice bacon, wrap around whole water chestnut and secure with toothpick. Put in glass baking dish, bake 1/2 hour @ 350, drain grease, put on BBQ sauce, and bake another 30 or 40 minutes. Yumm!!! Plus, it involves bacon, as stated above :)

    • Martha Gail says:

      I never put sweetener in my smoothies. I use a whole banana, a handful of mixed berries, a handful of dark cherries, and fill it up to the top of the fruit with OJ. I get the berries and cherries from the produce section and freeze them in a container. I don’t need ice or syrup and it turns out perfectly sweet and creamy.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        I put in 3/4 tsp of Truvia in the Mango Tango smoothie, just because the recipe called for it, but I doubt it was needed. Nothing added to the Cherry Lemonade Freeze, though. I tend to make things and try them without sweetener, then add some if it’s just too sour.

        I wish I liked bananas, it would make the whole fruit smoothie thing a lot easier!

        • Martha Gail says:

          I don’t like the texture of bananas, but I like fresh ones in my smoothie! You might try it sometime to see if that’s the case for you too.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I made a strawberry-peach smoothie once with OJ and honey, and it turned out really tasty. But it LOOKED like pink barf! I had to close my eyes every time I took a sip.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      if you freeze bananas or plantains for a few days, they pretty much convert their starch to sugars and you won’t need any extra sugar. i hate bananas but i have a freezer full of plantains right now for ice cream and smoothies

  11. tbax929 says:

    The main thing on my mind today is rain. Specifically, I’m hoping we actually get some. I can’t even remember the last time it rained. They’re saying a 50% chance tomorrow, but they’re often incorrect. Anyone else getting rain?

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      It’s dry here in Central PA, and while we’ve gotten some T storms from time to time, it really hasn’t rained for a whole day or so in a while. There’s a chance of T storms tomorrow, but that’s it for the weekly local weather forecast.

      I hate to complain about it, though – last year was so wet water laid in the yard, and when I tried to mow I sank in, sometimes to my ankles in mud. I took off the week of Labor Day, and it rained all week, nearly nonstop, and we had devastating flooding just east of here. Not sure which is worse. The farmers can irrigate from the river, at least.

      • tbax929 says:

        I went to college in Carlisle, PA. I don’t miss summers in PA (or winters, for that matter). But I absolutely miss the fall foliage. When I go home, I’m always struck by how green and pretty it is.

    • scoosdad says:

      After getting so little snow this winter, I was awfully sure that we’d have a really dry spring and summer here in MA and all the usual greenery around here would shrivel up and die.

      I’m glad to say that I was wrong and we’ve had an abundance of rain so far without it being too much, and I’m mowing my lawn this year at a much more frequent rate than I have in a long long time. Be careful what you wish for…

  12. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Don’t have a recipe planned on the 4th, but I’m going to gorge on the banana bread I made.

    Oh yeah — hubby made Swedish meatballs, but I think it won’t last until the 4th.

  13. Will Print T-shirts For Food says:

    My world famous Blueberry-Cheesecake Cream Cheese Pound cake!

  14. Delicious Spam is delicious says:

    cake

  15. Saskiatas says:

    Husband is making pulled pork in the smoker (YUM) with spicy slaw and local Sam’s Joint BBQ sauce, and I’ll be making a cool side dish of thinly sliced cucumber marinated in vinegar and oil with a bit of salt/pepper and sugar/splenda.

  16. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    My uncle’s birthday is on July 2nd, so every year growing up we’d have “Frozen Dessert” – a layer of crushed Oreo cookies, then a layer of vanilla ice cream, then a layer of homemade fudge sauce, then a layer of Dream Whip. Served frozen, it’s so much tastier than ice cream cake.

  17. Donathius says:

    My grandparents live a block north of one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the country and my grandpa’s birthday is July 4th. We have a big barbecue and enjoy the free entertainment coming from the stadium.

    For the curious it’s the Stadium of Fire in Provo, UT. It’s always amused me that it’s our 4th of July celebration that gets broadcast on the Armed Forces Network for the troops to watch. Of all the celebrations in places like Washington, D.C., New York, etc. this year the troops get to watch the Beach Boys perform in Utah.

  18. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    tomatoes, still hot from the sun.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/catastrophegirl/7496035640/in/photostream

    sadly, the plants were knocked over by the derecho this weekend and i lost one tomato and may lose more depending on the long term damage the plants sustained.

    but over 30 [i stopped counting] tomatoes from one grocery store tomato that was rotten inside is pretty good. i just smushed the rotten tomato into a bucket of potting soil and transplanted when they were 6 inches tall.

    bacon and tomato sandwiches, tomatoes and pickles, tomato pasta salad….

    • chizu says:

      This year I plan on making tomato powder so I could use it for… Well, anything. Don’t forget stuff like bruschettas, tomato and basil and mozzarella sandwiches…

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i get my tomato powder in a little jar at the latin market. it lasts much longer than i expected the first time i bought it because it’s so intense and strong

        • chizu says:

          I read that you could keep them indefinitely (just make sure it stays dry). It’s super easy to make (I made oven-dried tomatoes last year, they were very well-loved), so I’m going to try to make some, keep them around the house and throw them in anything I want to. Or even give them out as presents.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I got some tomato plants growing in pots. They’re not quite tall enough to put in the little bed I made them.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        how tall do they need to be? i mean, i was just guessing this year, i haven’t grown tomatoes since i was a teenager and that was an accident involving compost and a slovenly guinea pig

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I don’t know, but they’re still kind of small. I planted them late. Those that survived the first seedling cull and the heat are around four inches or so. I’d like them to be a bit taller before I stick them out in the baking sun.

  19. spartan says:

    Let’s talk about that evil Laura Northrup who is taking two days off when millions of readers are counting on her Chris and Mary Beth to get our morning blood boiling.

    Seriously have a safe and great weekend. See yall on Friday.

    You are coming back on Friday right???

  20. chizu says:

    My go-to item for pretty much any gathering is deviled eggs, made with my own hot sauce, and it’s always the first thing to go at a party. But this year, I’m not going anywhere (trying not to get too sad since I spent the last two Fourth with my ex), so I probably will just fire up my George Foreman Grill and make some hot dogs at home tomorrow…

    With that being said — this has nothing to do with food. But has anyone been invited to go to those product parties? As in pyramid scheme parties like Avon? My friend invited me to go to another one of those (I got suckered into a “jewellery party” last year — that was another story.) since she wanted to help her friend out who just got started in one of those things. Maybe I’m a good Consumerist and know how stupid these things are, but god, why do people do these things and actually fall for them? And how could you do this to your friends??? I looked over the products this girl (whom I have not even met) is selling (the brand is Arbonne). A set of skincare products is $90+. An eyeshadow is $19. Lipgloss is $24. So do people really expect their friends to cough up $100 to “help you out”? Especially when you might only make $5? $10? out of that $100. It’s not like I’m too cheap, but I guess I am if you’re asking me to part with my hard-earned $100 for a brand I cannot trust or never used before. Ugh.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      About the product parties, I always tell them sorry, I just can’t afford it. And I repeat as necessary. The ladies at work are into Avon, Pampered Chef, and some sort of jewelry, not sure what it is as I’ve never ordered any. I just don’t like being put on the spot to buy things I really don’t want at inflated prices. If someone needs an extra $5 or $10 to help out, I’d almost rather just hand them the cash.

      • chizu says:

        I went to the jewellery party last year — my ex got really mad at me for buying junk (it really is junk). All the stuff were overpriced, and since I bead myself, I knew how to make most of the things in the catalogue for less and with better materials too. (They used like resin, some sort of junk metal, and the ring I bought was light as feather.) But I knew this girl for most of my life and she kind of scheduled this party around my schedule, so it was hard to back out that one time. I also at the time didn’t know how cheap and poorly made they were.

        What made the jewellery party worse was, my friend (the host) wasn’t getting the cash. She got credit (after she sold $500 of that crap to her friends) to get more “free jewellery” — and the “advisor” was the one who got a cheque. Way to put pressure on your friends (we’re this much short! buy more junk!). I could get costume jewellery at Forever 21 for 1/10 of that price.

        • Tenacity says:

          Happens around here a lot, and many women I know do these parties as 2nd jobs, mainly for cheaper access to the products. I got so many of these expensive “invitations” that I began telling the “hostesses” that I would come to their parties and eat their food, but I’m not going to buy anything. Crass but effective. I still get invited. I did recently purchase some 31 totes…they’re pretty cool.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      people ask me to do that stuff and if they are a good enough friend i just pull out my wallet and say “why don’t i just give you some money?”

      • chizu says:

        That’s really how I feel too, but except this girl isn’t my friend so I feel okay turning it down. But it bothers me how these adults don’t realise what a joke these scams are.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I hate those things. I have gotten sucked into the Mary Kay crap before. Now I just stay away from them.

      The only ones I would be interested in would be Tupperware, but it’s so expensive it’s not worth it. I have found tons of old Tupperware at the flea market for a fraction of the cost and it is just as sturdy as new. I just have to resist taking all of it home.

      • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

        I will say that I’ve found Tupperware to be worth the cost, because it tends to be *really* sturdy. But for that same reason, I never go to the parties, because I already have the things I need.

    • tailspin says:

      Yeah, the guilt for those parties is intense. I have a friend who sells Arbonne, but I haven’t gone to her parties… I just say that my derm recommended certain brands so I have to stick with them. Now, Stella and Dot jewelry… that was a party I didn’t mind going to, because their stuff is gorgeous. I get stopped on the street by people wanting to know where I got my earrings or bracelet or whatever.

  21. Charles Edward Winthrop III, Esquire, Investigator of the Unknown Music says:

    The old standby recipe for me:

    Get a nice ripe watermelon. Not too large, cause you want it to be sweet. Say 10-15lb range.
    Plug the melon. Pour a fifth of Stolichnaya into the plug hole (warning, go SLOW!). Replace the plug, and toss the melon in the fridge overnight.

    Next day, at the picnic, slice and serve, but WARN the kids that this is the “grownups” melon!

    • raydeebug says:

      I hate watermelon; I wonder how well this would work for hollow melons like honeydew or canteloupe… hmm.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i have been known to inject vodka into oranges and then freeze them, but you do need a clean fine pointed glue syringe to do that

      • tailspin says:

        it’d probably just sit in the hollow. Watermelon is great for it because the whole melon is so porous, the booze just soaks all through it.

    • chizu says:

      Last year, my friend stuck the whole bottle into the watermelon and left it there for a couple of days, the vodka infiltrated slowly until the watermelon has absorbed the alcohol entirely. Word of advice: the watermelon around the opening is very boozey and gets a bit too bitter to my likings.

    • nugatory says:

      As I mentioned above, I do the same, just using a turkey syringe.

  22. El_Fez says:

    Me, I’m celebrating the Five Day Weekend by heading down to Northern California on Highway 101, the Avenue of the Giants, the Trees of Mystery and whatnot. It’s gonna be AWESOME!

  23. Cranky Owl says:

    What is this “summer” you speak of? It’s 59 degrees in Portland & it looks like it’s about to rain. I’m getting ready to have a nice hot cup of tea.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Ugh! It was 88 today again here in central PA, and while it’s a little warm for my liking, I’m not complaining as my neighbors to the south still have power outages, and I hear it’s been in the triple digits down there. Here’s hoping it’s a little warmer for you soon!

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        it’s down to 99 here today, from 1-0-f’ing-6 this weekend. but it will go back up to 100 for the holiday, with thunderstorms. because who doesn’t like hot rain?

  24. Tenacity says:

    Crabs!! Hot steamed crabs! Straight from the Cheasapeake Bay! With beer! Welcome to Bawlimer, hon. Actually, we live north of that miserable city. It’s been in the 90’s here and plenty humid, but at least I have power/ac unlike lots of folks around here following the storms. FYI, steamed crabs cost about $65 a dozen for the large ones. I’ll eat 4 or 5; my husband will eat more. Smalls, maybe $30 or $35. An expensive treat. We also love all kinds of crab recipes…crab dip, crab cakes, crab imperial, crab soft pretzels, soft shell crabs, etc. A pound of best quality crab meat, picked from the shell for you, is at least $30 where I live.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I lived in Delaware once a long time ago, for about six months. Hated it but enjoyed crabbing. My friend’s brother took me. It was fun.