Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday Crawfish

The weather was great on Sunday. It was one of those rare days in South Louisiana when the humidity doesn’t cause you to soak through your shirt in 5 seconds. My son had planned a crawfish boil for his employees – mostly 20 something advertising artistic types. He had ordered up 300 pounds of crawfish and a couple of inflatable jumping things for the kids. The weather cooperated and the breeze off the Mississippi River kept things cool.

A crawfish boil is unique to South Louisiana. Crawfish can be found all over the world, but to my knowledge, Louisiana is the only place that not only cooks them in mass quantities, but raises them as well. I was once able to find crawfish in Russia. I had packed a box of Zatarain’s crab boil in my luggage with the intent to have the first ever crawfish boil in Astrakhan, Russia. We scrounged a big pot and rigged a cutting torch to provide the heat source. Unfortunately, I was only able to find frozen crawfish. They were whole with shell on, but frozen. When boiled, they turned to mush.

Crawfish are a major cash crop in Louisiana. Crawfish also allow rice farmers generate another source of income from their fields. Louisiana produces approximately 50,000 tons of crawfish annually and they bring in $120 million to the state economy.

A crawfish boil is also a great social equalizer. Nobody can eat crawfish in fancy clothes. Nobody can peel crawfish and stay clean. Crawfish are generally eaten at long tables where they are dumped in large piles in the center of the table. You sit next to family, friends and future friends and all dig into the same pile. Experienced hands scout out the biggest ones. Social classifications do not exist at a crawfish boil and the time required to peel them makes for convenient pauses for conversation.

In all, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The kids, both young and older ones, had a ball playing on the inflatable jumping things. The crawfish were large, spiced just right and the beer was cold. What more can you ask?

No comments: