Bayou Banquet

by

Tis the season.  Crawfish season, that is.  And shrimp.  And really, it’s always crab season here in Louisiana.  Growing up in New Orleans, there are many things I took for granted and many things it seems my family actively sought to avoid.  But one Louisiana thing my family has always embraced is its seafood.

All of my childhood summers were peppered with crab boils, crawfish boils, shrimp boils. There is something that draws me to the formality involved in a boil, the ritualistic element: there’s the special large pot and burner, the paddle, the strainer basket, the spices, the vegetables, and, of course, the seafood.  Oh, and the large-handled spoon.  The spoon!  The spoon that is used to dip into the searing hot liquid to taste for spiciness while the seafood is boiling.

What I have tasted from the hand of my grandfather, father, uncles and brothers from that spoon–truly boiling, smoking hot spiced juices.  This is HEAVEN to me.  I once drank cups of this at a time (back when I didn’t know what sodium was).  Oh, me.

YatPundit changed his avatar on Twitter to a long metal spatula holding a crawfish over a boiling pot.  That image is so iconic in New Orleans.  How iconic?  Well, it reminded me of a puzzle I had growing up, a puzzle I still own and still build from time to time.  A puzzle purchased by my mother from D.H. Holmes Department Store.  I give you, “Bayou Banquet”:

I LOVE this picture!  It is so representative of Louisiana food and particularly a seafood boil: boiled crabs, shrimp, crawfish; lemons and vegetables to add to a good boil; oysters on the half-shell and stuffed peppers; cocktail sauce and Dixie beer; the Times-Picayune newspaper to cover the table; the notable Louisiana spices; the seafood basket and net; and French bread and gumbo.  How can you not want to live in a place where this is standard fare on a warm summer night?

For those of you here in NOLA that still call Dillards Holmeses out of habit, I leave for you this picture of the side of the puzzle box:

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