Buy Shrimp by Count Not Size


Always buy shrimp by count not size. "Count” means the number of shrimp you’ll get per pound. The smaller the number, the bigger the shrimp.

Jewel asks: When I was buying shrimp, I saw the word “count.” What does this mean?

“Count” in shrimp lingo means the number of shrimp you’ll get per pound. This is where size really does matter because the smaller the number, the bigger the shrimp. This is why you should always buy shrimp by count not size.

Sometimes you’ll find a “U” in front of the number 10 or 15. This means there are under 10 or 15 shrimp per pound. Buying shrimp by the count is a good idea because what one store sells as “large” could be sold as “jumbo”  in another store.

Count is usually reserved for raw shrimp, head-on or head-off, de-veined or not, and peeled or unpeeled.

But lately I’ve noticed that some places are selling cooked shrimp with a “count.” Don’t forget that shrimp shrinks once it is cooked, so buy bigger if you can afford it!

Use this handy chart for a loose reference so you’ll always know how to buy shrimp by count not size:

Size of the Shrimp Count or Shrimp per Pound
Small 36-45
Medium 31-35
Large 21-30
Extra Large 16-20
Jumbo 11-15

And once you get those shrimp home, you’re going to need to peel and devein them. Here’s how I do it:

How To Peel and Devein Shrimp

Kitchen Think: Chicago Food Film Festival


There’s a plethora of film festivals out there… Sundance, Telluride, Cannes, Toronto. But none of them are as delicious as the Chicago Food Film Festival.

 Never heard of it? That’s a shame…it’s a one-of-a-kind event (well, sort of, they also hold one in New York City).

The fest celebrates everything about food: the people who grow it, make it, play and create enchantment with it. The fest is based around a simple premise… you watch movies and you eat (hmm…sounds like home.)

But the best part is that you get to sample the foods featured in the short films (often eating during the movie itself!)

We were served a slice of the delicious bread made by Maurizio Negrini, a third-generation Italian baker now living in Boulder, Colorado, while we watched the beautifully poignant film “Artisan Baker”.

We sipped wine from the Naramata Bench winery while watching “10,000 Cases,” a film that squeezes the entire harvest of the British Columbia vineyard into just two minutes.

During the film “Über,” we munched on delicious sandwiches from Florian Phahler’s Hannah’s Bretzel… who built his Chicago restaurant with a simple philosophy: start with great bread and develop a business plan with a conscience.

You get the picture… three days of glorious eating and viewing.

Oh, and the Audience Choice winner? “Sugar Shack,” which explores the business, culture, heritage and food of a Canadian maple farm at the peak of maple season. Sure it’s a tourist trap… but just take a look at the breakfast they serve and you’re going to want to book a trip soon.

And at the end of opening night? Why a food fest, of course (OK, more of a reception) featuring even more delicious eats! All of it Oscar-worthy!

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: