1) Crawfish are messy. For easy clean-up, cover tables in plastic bags and set up garbage cans at the end of each table so that guests can easily dispose of the shells. If you have the crawfish boil at a park or public space, make sure to start cleaning up before the sun starts to go down. Also, steer clear of wearing your Sunday best. Even the most delicate Southern belle will spill.
2) Aim to get at least five pounds of crawfish per person. Remember it’s better to have leftovers than not enough. You can always save the remnants for another dish, like crawfish étouffée.
3) Be creative when it comes to veggies and other accouterments. Some standards are potatoes, garlic, lemon, sausage (incidentally, my Cajun friend swears that sausage in a crawfish pot counts as a vegetable), corn and mushrooms. I recommend edamame. Sweet potatoes, artichokes and even pineapple are also big hits.
4) Don’t let them overcook. After the pot comes to a boil and the crawfish are added, start tasting a couple. If the meat in the tail pops out easily, cut the fire off and start cooling the pot. Let the crawfish soak for several minutes to absorb the maximum flavor from the boil.
5) The Beatles were onto something when they sang “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Crawfish boils provide some mellow good times, but social gatherings lend themselves to stress for the host. Ask your friends to help you out – at a recent crawfish boil, I was on the “vegetable committee;” other committees can involve music, beer or other entertainment and snacks.
OK, here’s one more rule for lagniappe: There is no such thing as too much Strawberry Abita.
History alive at HNOC
533 Royal St., 523-4662, hnoc.org
The Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC) is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. However, as befitting the culture it serves, it’s anything but dry and dusty. Take a look at these events in May and June: the Spring Concerts in the Courtyard Series. The publication of Ernie K-Doe: The R & B Emperor of New Orleans, the second in the HNOC’s Musician Biography Series. “Seat Treatments” a demonstration by expert chair caner Mary Cooper, a culinary symposium “Creole Sweet: The Praline and its World;” and “Furnishing Louisiana 1735-1835” exhibition.
– Mirella Cameran
Design your own at Boudreaux’s
Locations in Metairie, Mandeville and Baton Rouge: BoudreauxsJewelers.com
If you were one of those children who loved making bracelets and necklaces, you might love Pandora. It is a beautiful sterling silver and 14 karat yellow gold range that enables you to design your own bracelets, earrings and necklaces with a wide selection of interchangeable charms. It is fitting that you can find Pandora at Boudreaux’s jewelers. The family-owned business has been making custom jewelry since 1933. If you aren’t confident in your own taste, Boudreaux’s also has pieces from the world’s finest jewelry and watch designers.
– Mirella Cameran