Our wonderful "across the street" neighbors, who have become our very dear friends, invited us over for a CRAWFISH BOIL.
Well, that's the short version of the story. That man up there in that picture has been HOUNDING us for a couple of months about coming over to eat crawfish. He's pretty adventurous in the kitchen and just likes to cook for people, which I can totally relate to. He's made venison jerky for us. He brought homemade tamales to Thanksgiving dinner one year. He's introduced McKay to sardines, mushrooms, and fried bologna sandwiches. His influence is vast. So finally, finally, after acquiring all the necessary equipment, and practicing a couple of smaller crawfish batches, and inviting our kids over to test everything, he felt comfortable enough to set a date for the official CRAWFISH BOIL! We agreed to go, but I made it pretty clear to him that I would not be eating any crawfish.
Here's what they looked like BEFORE the party started. Yup, they're alive. And active. And not at all happy about swimming around in salted water for 20 minutes. Apparently that's some kind of cleansing thing that you have to do. (Oh, the process for all of this...)
Here's what they look like in relation to a human. They're like small lobsters (...or really big roaches...but maybe that's a good thought to just keep here on this blog...)
After the brining process, they are dumped into a strainer and lowered into a vat of boiling water.
After 5 minutes of cooking, and 20 minutes of simmering, they look like this...
After everything was cooked, we dumped it all onto the tables and everyone just "dug in." Seriously. There were no utensils. There were no plates. I managed to scrounge up a napkin, but no one else felt the need to use one.
McKay apparently just used his white shirt. :(
I was a little bit shocked to see how heartily my little family ate those crawfish. I'm pretty sure McKay ate at least 5 of the 25 pounds that were cooked. He wouldn't even look up from his seafood-eating frenzy long enough to smile for a picture.
Three batches of crawfish and a couple hours later, here's what was left...carcasses...ew...
Even though my opinion of crawfish didn't change much after cooking them and watching my family devour them, the thing about this crawfish boil that qualified it for the "Stuff I Love" category was the part where four families in our neighborhood got together with our little contributions and turned it into not just a great, adventurous dinner experience, but a really awesome afternoon. I loved sitting out in the neighbors' driveway with all of our kids hanging out and just connecting with them. They are amazing people and I am so grateful to know them. I can't think of a single day that's passed since August 2010 that I've not felt immensely grateful for this place where we live and for these people we get to associate with.
Disclaimer: Many, many crawfish were harmed in the making of this blog post. :(