Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Low Point in Boiling Crustaceans

Having spent four years in New Orleans, and having a child that went through a phase where he would only eat shrimp, I have consumed a large amount of shrimp in my time. (And have perfected the cooking thereof. See Recipe on the Zatarain's liquid crab boil bottle.)

Also, it takes a lot to make me squeamish. I do understand what happens to the animals, the living, breathing, feeling animals so that they can become my dinner. But I also understand that processing grains and produce and shipping it all over the world in great big refrigerated trucks is hard on the environment. In other words, I eat what I want and don't think too much about it. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

But I had to give pause yesterday, and I just couldn't do it. I cooked two pounds of shrimp and decided to be extra nice to my family and peel them. (Although, I generally feel that any son of mine had better be able to peel a shrimp to take the shell off in one easy piece and, if having shrimp in sauce, also be able to do so with a knife and fork. It's my obligation as a parent to teach him that and then my work there is done.) Anyway, so I am peeling away, and I get one shrimp and I notice something strange right under the shell in the curve of its underbelly - a fully formed, about to born, baby shrimp with its little eyes and little legs and little feelers (much like the cute little shrimp on the left). I boiled a mommy. And her baby. While they were one. The mama shrimp was perfectly fine for consumption (and probably the baby too - perhaps like the veal of the crustacean world?). But I just couldn't do it.

(Even though, and you can mark my words on this, the smaller shrimp do taste better.)
(Also, Zatarain's liquid crab boil is an excellent substitute for pickling spices when making corned beef. And for chocolate syrup in milkshakes. Just kidding, but the corned beef thing is very true. Really, everybody should be required to spend four years of their life in New Orleans. You will learn more useful information there than any place you can get a four year degree.)


  1. I love shrimp. But that would totally creep me out to find the mommy-baby situation you found. I guess it's good you found it instead of your kid?

    In other mildly related topics, are you watching Treme? I rather love it, and hear it's pretty legit, but have never lived in NOLA so I don't know.

  2. What an awesome tip about the crab boil! We eat corned beef all year long and usually have to stock up on pickling spices because our local stores only carry the spices during the St. Patty's time frame. Thanks for the info!