Growing up in Shreveport, LA crawfish were not eaten so often as the deeper southern areas of Louisiana. Apparently Shreveport qualifies as a Texan city by most Cajuns, being that it is so close to the border. I have come to automatically expect being called out as a “Yankee” as soon as I mention my hometown anywhere south of Alexandria.
Anyway, I never liked crawfish growing up. This is sort of blasphemy, but it wasn’t a case of faulty taste buds. I may be a Yankee but my taste buds most certainly are not. No, the problem was that I was a lazy and picky eater (at least when it came to seafood). Not only was I never able to master the practice of peeling the mud bugs, but I was also annoyingly finicky about deveining. Okay, I admit I am still annoyingly finicky about the vein. Devein ALL the things!
When I moved to Lafayette, I soon became a part of many gatherings revolving around this delicacy. Crawfish themselves are reason to throw a party or get together. We ate them at football games. We ate them at the pool. We ate them in the street, at work, in the car, you name it. We ate multiple times a week. – Crawfish season is that magical window of time to get your fix and get it often. Peak season (when the tails are prime size) usually begins in March and goes through about mid June. I am also perpetually broke during this time period.
Needless to say, I perfected my peeling skills, learned to make a killer dip, and went straight from hater to fanatic in just a year. So far this year I had only one measly fix, until last night that is. An old regular of the restaurant I worked at in school, and fellow crawfish fiend, kindly invited me to join him and a friend.
I entered in to the bar to meet them, and almost immediately our Crawfish shaped table pager illuminated with dancing red lights. The tables are designed specifically for the art of eating these buggers. There is a large round hole in the center of the table with a trash can attached underneath for convienient disposal of shells and heads. I took my time making a perfectly consistent dip and got acquainted with by buddy Jim Beam while I awaited my three pounds of meal crack. I proceeded to polished off every single tail proudly.
Back when I never thought I’d leave this boot I took this seemingly simple part of my cajun culture for granted. And while I’m sure I will consume copious amounts of Crawfish in waiting to make my shift to a new home, I made sure to really absorb this experience last night. After all, wherever I live next the people might call them crayfish… or not know what they are at all.. cringe.
- Crawfish Beignets with Spicy Rémoulade (21nogluten.wordpress.com)
- Iguana Isle Crawfish Boil (iguanaisle.wordpress.com)