Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Look Away, Dixieland ...

Crawfish - Before

Crawfish - after

The Old Oak Tree

Magnolia bud

Those of you who drop by here with any frequency will have noticed that that urine bag was up a long time. 'Twas because I was away from the keyboard. Away from the state. Almost away from the country, having spent the last five days in Louisiana ...

If you could hear my voice right now, it would be dripping with corn pone and chittlins, and you'd be looking around for the rest of the cast of Gone With the Wind ...

I went to visit my folks, to see how my father's Alzheimer's was progressing, and how the family was in general: Mother, sister, niece, nephew, grand-nieces, in-laws, and the old cats my mother feeds but which aren't her cats ...

But let's talk about the food:

Fried catfish tails. Fried shrimp, stuffed with blue crab meat. Fried hush puppies. Fried potatoes. Fried speckled trout. More hush puppies. Even one I'd never seen before -- fried corn on the cob. You roll it in cornmeal batter and drop it into the pot with the fish my brother-in-law caught.

The weather was pretty good for that part of the world this time of year. Raining when I got there, and raining when I left there, but between, mostly dry and cloudy, so it was only in the mid-eighties -- that's temperature Farenheit and relative humidity, for which the technical term is "muggy." I got to see Mike the Tiger's new cage, a four million dollar landscaped yard with a pool and lots of shade. My sister wondered about the tent-roof effect with heavy chain link that covered the place. That to keep people from throwing stuff in? she said.

I expect it's to keep the tiger in, I allowed. Being as how he can jump over that ten-foot tall wall with about as much effort as you'd exert stepping out of the bathtub ...

But no, really, let's talk about the food, not of all which is fried. Some of it is boiled, as in, take a thirty-gallon pot, drop in five pounds of new potatoes, stubby ears of corn, sausage, mushrooms, a whole bunch of cajun seasoning, and forty pounds of crawfish and crank up the propane burner out on the driveway until it is done.

There was a great macho moment, when my brother-in-law Gary and his son-in-law Eric, an ex-marine and deputy with the EBR Sheriff's department went to lift the pot off the fire. Each man put on a rubber glove and grabbed the wire handle.

Eric: Huh. That heat goes right through that rubber glove, doesn't it?
Gary: (I can't quote him exactly here, in case any of my family reads it, but he allowed as how my niece's husband might be less than manly.)
Eric: I've been drinking beer. I can hold onto it as long as you can.

So the two of them held onto the hot wire, looked at each other. Naturally, I couldn't find my camera. Eventually, there was a moment of unspoken mutual agreement and they put the pot down. When you go home, bring your ruler ...

But, no, really, let's talk about the food: Those before and after pictures of the crawfish, look at the after. That pile closest to the camera, that's mine ... (Only real coonasses suck the heads; the pansies like me just eat the claw and tail meat. My nephew Heath's girlfried was the sole cajun-style eater at the table. (Truth in advertising: My heap of et crawfish actually stops at that wadded-up napkin on top the pile -- those to the right belonged to my nephew.)

And I'm back, in one piece, and on a diet for a couple weeks to drop a few pounds.


No comments: