“We are boiling crawfish on Sunday at noon. Love for you all to join us. Let me know if you can!” YES we can! New town, new friends, new experiences. It’s a Festival of Firsts for us and the crawfish encounter was at the top of my wish list.
This irresistible invitation arrived via text from our neighbors Chris and Canette Liddy, prompted by a call from Chris’s brother in Australia. I can imagine the exchange, “hey mate! A coupl’a kids from Queensland are hittin' the books down your way...” Chris I’m sure, didn’t miss a beat, rolling out the ping pong table, cartons of cold drinks and sacks and sacks of crawfish. Louisiana hospitality coupled with that of a transplanted Australian is something you don’t want to miss.
The Aussies came, nine students in their final year of medical school, visiting with an exchange program with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. The neighbors came, each with an armload of good things to round out the hospitality.
Crawfish boil. It’s a seasonal custom as familiar as Mardi Gras to anyone with a Louisiana pedigree. When the steaming crustaceans are spilled out onto the table, it’s obvious who the locals are. With dexterity, these pros pinch and peel crawfish by the dozens, popping them into their mouths. When I saddled up to the table with my announcement of ‘first timer,’ a crowd gathered to offer assistance. There’s a method to this madness and the experts are generous with how-to.
It was an all-you-can-eat affair with quantities of paper towels to match. Bluebird skies, a welcome gift from the most fickle Mother Nature, coupled with a backyard full of friends old and new, made for the perfect backdrop for this First. Next up...King Cake, another rite of passage for the newcomers. My friend Michelle has already offered to lead this tour. So much festive fun and Mardi Gras is still weeks in the distance.
recipe courtesy of Canette Liddy's father Sweet Cutrer