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Sail Away Crab Boil

Bring A Bit of the Coast to your Back Yard

Article by And Styled By LeAnn Parker

Photography by Janie Jones

Originally published in Topeka City Lifestyle

I love back yard family-style meals such as a crab boil this time of year. While it's hard to say how crab boils started, one theory is that with the arrival of Cajun people from Maritime regions of Canada in the 1700's, the crab boil was one tradition that they brought with them. Lucky us!!

With a crab boil, the food is the star of the show, and a vital part of the table scape. Additional elements included here are a large paper-sail, light blue taper candles, a few large flowers, and heavy white rope as nautical accents. You can also use other elements such as large seashells, coral or sea glass. Use whatever you have on hand that gives a nod to the sea. 

Crab Boil Recipe:

Fill a large stock pot halfway with cold water. Season with lemon peels, bay leaves, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Old Bay Seasoning, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and add crab legs, sausage, potatoes, and corn until cooked. Strain water and serve on a large, galvanized tray, lined with newspaper or parchment paper. 

Give each guest a bowl of garlic butter for dipping as well as lemons for squeezing (wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with twine to avoid seeds). 

Include special beverages and desserts such as a tiered lemon cake or frozen treat to beat the heat. 

Enjoy your meal with guests, family style!


·         Paper-Sail centerpiece (instructions found in Martha Stewart’s book "Handmade Holiday Crafts" page 248) set in a galvanized bucket filled with white sand.

·         Blue taper candles placed in 8oz jelly jars filled with white sand.

·         Glass bottles labeled “Let’s Sail Away”. Inside, roll up a handwritten note, joke or riddle for guests to enjoy a chuckle or conversation starter.

·         Large, galvanized tray overlaid with parchment paper to hold the crab boil feast.

Table Setting - Optional

  • White Pasta Bowls

  • Individual Ceramic Butter Warmers

  • Linen Napkins

  • Woven Placemats

  • Galvanized Tavern Mugs

  • Crab Napkin Rings

  • Crab Salt & Pepper Shakers

  • Crab Bottle Opener

  • Parchment Paper

For full instructions visit the blog at