Well, we do, and it’s that time of year again. Signs have cropped up all over town touting “Live Crawfish $1.50 per pound”, which is very much a first-of-the-season price. Near the end of the season, the price will go down to as low as $.49 a pound.
You must understand the culture, though. Predominantly Catholic, many bayou people are not eating any meat during Lent—the religious time of sacrifice between Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and Easter (Resurrection Sunday). Besides not eating meat, and especially not eating meat on Friday (more importantly, Good Friday–the day of Jesus’ crucifixion), devout Catholics also give up at least one thing they dearly love during this time.
Crawfish season just happens to fall during Lent, making these little mud dwellers a delicacy in demand. Until the past 10 years or so, crawfish were not eaten in the northern part of Louisiana like they are down here in the south. However, as “all things Cajun” became more and more popular, the cultural foods became popular, too.
Crawfish is no exception. Probably millions of pounds are boiled every Lenten season in huge pots in very spicy water, along with side items like ears of corn, small potatoes, whole onions, oranges, lemons, mushrooms, pieces of smoked sausage, and garlic pods.
We like to make a dipping sauce for any or all of the items that come out of the boiling pot. Again, this sauce can be as varied as the side items, but mine starts with a base of mayonniase, to which I add ketchup, mustard, worcestershire, hot sauce, and Cajun seasonings. We like to dip crackers in it, too. Yum!
So, if you think eating these little mudbugs is gross, weird, or just plain nasty, then please educate me on something you eat from your culture that is on the same level with these weird-looking, but wonderful tasting crustaceans!
And by the way, they are really good left over. When everyone’s had their fill, and there are still crawfish on the table, some of us sit around and peel what’s left to be used later in crawfish stew, crawfish étouffée, or maybe even fried crawfish tails! Bayou people don’t waste anything!