At the end of the night the skin on my thumbs was torn to shreds, there were red stains streaked across my shorts, ‘battle-worn’ barely began to describe either my appearance or my attitude. When the final Abita had been poured, the final head sucked, the final puff of powdered sugar faded into the air from a beignet, I emerged victorious. Yes, I went to the Where ya at Matt crawfish boil, and I won.
What’s that you say, you didn’t realize that crawfish boil attendance was a competitive sport? It’s more marathon than sprint, more chess than wrestling, more thunderdome than anything else. I have gone, I have seen and I have conquered. The spoils of my victory are that I return with five pieces of advice to help future warriors in their crusades against the masses of mudbugs.
1) Abita Amber is the perfect crawfish boil beer:
Abita is normally a decent beer, always tasting best when sipped on a porch, peeking out at the masses stumbling about in the streets of the French Quarter. When importing an institution like the boil, though, it is not just acceptable but required to import the only beer that can act as the perfect antidote to the burning spice building up on the lips of the crawfish eater.
2) Crawfish thumb: It’s real
Those suckers are sharp. After multiple hours of opening the tails, even with our lessons from local boy Matt Lewis, the crawfish were talking like Charlie Sheen (Winning!). My thumbs were peppered with tiny holes, the skin punctured as the crustaceans tried to crack me. This is more of a warning then a tip though, as I have no recommendation on how to avoid it, just power through and use lots of lotion the next day.
3) Don’t wear white to a crawfish boil
In case you haven’t gotten this yet, these creatures, they fight back. When they’re not piercing your flesh, they’re shooting spicy boil juice at you. I heard more than one cry of anguish “Crawfish in the eye!” at the boil. While I played enough defense to keep my eyesight, I’m afraid my shorts were no longer the same snowy shade as they started the day.
4) To look appropriately sexy while stirring crawfish, you need a crawfish paddle
Or just be Matt. Better yet? Both. Yes, a crawfish paddle is a real tool. One of my fellow boil-goers reports that you can even carry it on to a flight–provided you are flying out of New Orleans.
5) A crawfish boil is simply the perfect way to while an afternoon
We’re not in New Orleans, but for one afternoon, it seemed like we were. A little mini-vacation to a land where people only wear Saints’ jerseys and jazz music mixes in with anything else. All ages enjoy playing with their food, and the beer flows for the older attendees. The younger ones make clouds of sugar spring into the air from beignets. Everybody is friends, everybody is on your team when it’s you versus the mudbugs.
So, crawfish, I won this battle. Your season is over, so head back to Louisiana and spawn, or whatever it is you do. Next year, we’ll be back, for another round of delicious combat. In the meantime, you can find me chowing down on your bivalve buddies in the peacemaker po’boy at the Where ya at Matt truck’s usual stops.