Contrary to what you might think, I don’t spend every waking hour at a counter ordering burgers and fries or sitting in the drive-thru line. One of my favorite activities is being around the dinner table for extended periods of time. Who doesn’t love that?
I spent a week in North Carolina recently, visiting my friend, Will, and his family. Though they live in North Carolina, my hosts, the Benjamins, are originally from New Orleans. In my honor, they had crawfish shipped up from the Bayou, and we had a Crawfish Boil.
Nothing could be further from Fast Food than a Crawfish Boil. Hosing down and cleaning off the crawfish took me and Will at least 10 minutes. You need a lot of time to bring a 25-gallon drum of water to a boil. Once everything is cooked and drained, each crawfish needs to be broken open by hand to produce the meat.
For those who’ve never had one, there were around 20 pounds of crawfish in this boil. Added to the mix, as you can see in the photo, were potatoes, lemons, and corn on the cob. All of that is spiced with a “family recipe” of spices that the Benjamin family said they “might consider sharing with me one day.” Other recipes, like Alton Brown’s, include cayenne pepper, coriander, paprika, and andouille sausage, just to give you an idea.
All in all, we spent about three and a half hours at the table eating crawfish and drinking beer. That, to me, is the essence of Slow Food, from beginning to end.
Many thanks to the Benjamin Family for their hospitality and for sharing a NOLA tradition with this Yank. Who ‘Dat!
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