How to Throw a Crawfish Boil


Crawfish boils are a common thing during summers in New Orleans.  I threw my first boil a couple of years ago and was amazed at the amount of work that goes into one.  Here’s a quick to-do list:

  1. Order the crawfish in advance.
  2. Buy groceries—veggies galore (this year, potatoes, onion, garlic—the typical trio—along with celery, lemons, broccoli, brussel sprouts, corn, artichokes, and mushrooms), sausage to throw in too, along with spices, salt, booze, napkins (and wet wipes), ice (day of), cokes (we in the South, or at least my family, call all sodas “cokes”), water, and garbage bags.
  3. Cut the grass.
  4. Board the dogs.
  5. Sweep the porch.
  6. Borrow and set up folding tables and chairs on newly cleaned porch to accommodate 30 people.
  7. Put several fans (not less than three) on the porch.
  8. Borrow second pot, burner, basket and cover.  Boiling goes quicker if you can do two pots at a time.
  9. Fill propane tanks.
  10. Be sure you have a tub for the crawfish to soak in pre-boil.
  11. Pick up crawfish.
  12. Prepare side dishes.
  13. Set up pop-up tarp for the men-folk/boilers so they don’t fry in the sun.
  14. Clean the house.
  15. Bring ice chests down from attic.
  16. Get koozies/huggies out of pantry.
  17. Cut/prep veggies.
  18. Purge the crawfish (sorry, fellas).
  19. Boil the crawfish and the veggies.
  20. Eat and enjoy!

Yes, they are a lot of work.  Almost as much work as will go into the crawfish bisque we will be making with the leftover crawfish.

Today was such a good day.  My sister and her husband and son arrived early, as did my aunt and uncle, to assist with getting things ready.  The women dressed Sun and prepared side dishes while I drove to the Marigny to get the birthday cake from NOLA Cafe and Bakery.  The men started boiling the seafood so it’d be ready when the guests arrived.

My husband also finally installed a swing on the porch for Sun.  She LOVED her swing.  How much?  She fell asleep in it!  Ok, that may have been because she still had fever and no nap, but it was darn cute.

I could write many other details of the wonderfulness of today—seeing friends and family that I see regularly and some not so often, drinking Pimms Cups, eating watermelon, enjoying my new teak furniture, laughing, relaxing, watching the rain—but what made today special was something less concrete than any one of these things, or even all of them combined.

Recovering from surgery still, I was FORCED to take things slow and not push to the extreme.  It caused me to be even more organized than I usually am for a party.  But as it got nearer and nearer to 1pm and I could see not every detail I wanted attended to was going to get attention, I didn’t resist or balk or scramble.  I just allowed it to be good enough.  I was confident that overall we were ready.

And those things that did not get attention, I promise you, no one noticed.  I was at peace all day.  As Sun ached with fever, we took turns holding her and caressing her and swinging her.  And she’d feel better or not or nap or not or laugh or cry.  But through it all, she was a delight.  My baby is turning into a little girl.  A gentle, wee bit shy, sweet little girl.  And mamma was mighty proud of her today, and mighty proud of her home, herself, her very life.

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