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I’m a country girl. Born and raised in the mountains of Vermont. We have a lot of down-home food traditions, but there’s one thing that my Northern roots never provided for me: Crawfish Boils.
Originating from Louisiana, the Crawfish Boil is a go-to event to ring in summer in the South. As if there weren’t already enough reasons that I was dying to go to New Orleans, this Creole cuisine tradition truly brings it home.
I haven’t had time to make it to Nola, but luckily I found my way to a Crawfish Boil in Brooklyn not too long ago.
How does it work, you ask?
You start with a big old pot and a shit-ton of crawfish. Add some veggies, bay leaves, salt, aromatics, garlic, etc. etc. etc. It’s not an exact science, that’s for sure, and the magic happens when all the spices and ingredients merge together in harmony.
Oddly, the best thing about the the boil isn’t necessarily the crawfish, it’s the vegetables! Potatoes, corn, and onions get infused with spice and flavor. You get to pick up a whole, warm, potato in your bare hands and devour it. Yum.
Apparently, the boil that I attended was not altogether authentic. The crawfish were presented on huge metal platters, with a corresponding empty one off to the side upon which to pile discarded parts. I spoke to the woman to my left, who was from Louisiana; she informed me that in the Crawfish Boils of her past, the food was dumped directly onto newspaper, and there was a hole in the middle of the table with a trash bin beneath it to collect food waste. No frills, she said.
Oh well, it was still damn tasty.