Miss Bee’s Bolivar Buzz

Shannon WilliamsBy Shannon Williams
Crawfish … if you look it up in Wikipedia it states …”Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters. They are also known as crawfish, craydids, crawdaddies, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, rock lobster, mudbugs, or yabbie.” But what I call them is darn good to eat!!

My history with mudbugs started in 1975, when I was in high school and we took part in a marching band festival in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The last night we were there they had a banquet for us. It was outside and it was not only our group of 300, but several other bands who had taken part in the festival. I am not sure what else they served, but they had crawfish. My dear friend, Larry, knew all about them and convinced everyone around us that they would not like them and thus they gave him several plates full. Larry said watch this and showed me how to eat them. We were the last ones to leave the table and we had eaten so much crawfish we both were sick!! Upon returning to my family, I tried to explain what I had eaten and how good it was. I kept calling them mini lobsters and my brothers and sisters just were not buying that there was such a thing as mini lobsters!! It was many years before I would get them again. It was in the early 2000’s and I was at a meeting in New Orleans. One night we were hosted by some local social agencies and they put on a real crawfish boil. They had an old wooden boat filled with them! Out host were showing everyone how to eat them, as we had people from New York to the West Coast as part of our group. They were impressed that a West Texas girl liked crawfish, and knew how to eat them!!

In the years that followed, we could get Crawfish from our HEB around Easter weekend. I had a friend who also loved them, so we would go and buy a bag and purge them in my bathtub and have a party. We always had some boiled shrimp for those who did not want to try a “mudbug”! While I thought we were fixing them as they should be, it was until I had my husbands’ crawfish, that I truly fell in Love, yes with him but also with how he fixes crawfish!! I love the whole process of getting the boil ready, and just standing around a table and eating them one after another all day long. The corn, sausage and potatoes are standards, but oh how I love to have mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and green beans as part of the “pot”.

My husband has been hosting his annual crawfish party since his college days; it got to be huge and so he scaled it back when we moved down to Crystal Beach. This year, my work buddy from California came out, along with several friends from West Texas. None of them had ever eaten crawfish and were really not to sure that they wanted to. I told them I would have hamburgers standing by just in case, but as you might guess, those burgers never even got put on the grill. It was so much fun watching them learn to eat them and to see their reactions to the whole process! They have already told me to expect them for next year!! At first, they were not too keen on eating something off the table, but they caught on real fast and just pushed their way up to one of the high-top tables when a new pot hit the table!! Our grandson loves to be part of the crawfish cooking, he keeps them watered down and helps chase the ones that try and get away, yet he does not want to even attempt eating one. My husband assures me that one day he will give them a try and will be hooked for life.

I love that there is a season. You eat them every chance you can during season and then you are kind of sick of them, as you have eaten so many. They go away (well at least the fresh ones) and right after the holidays you start thinking about that first pot!!! The season is winding down and they will soon be no more till next year. I always freeze some to have to make etouffee during the year. When my son comes to visit, I make a seafood alfredo and add some crawfish to that.

I love that they just go so well with beach life, in so many ways. Gathering with friends and family to share a meal is always a great time, but when it is at the beach and there is crayfish, well you just cannot get any better than that.


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