Anyone who tells you crawfish taste like lobster is wrong. Crawfish tastes better and if you ever lived in the bayou areas of southern Louisiana you would probably agree with me.
Outsiders to life in the swamps might look at this picture and think, "I would never eat that!" But if you come from a poor family and wonder a lot where you next meal is gonna come from, that plate represents some tasty times in the Lavergne family while I was growing up.
There was a small creek cutting through the back yard of a house I lived in as a child and after a heavy rain, I would run out back with my siblings to check for crawfish holes. Those crafty mudbugs would bury themselves deep into the wet ground and there were only two ways to get them out. One was by tying something like a small piece of bread to the end of a string before lowering it into the crawdad hole. If you were lucky, a crawfish would clamp down on the bread with one of it's claws and you could pull them out of the hole. Crawfish are ornery critters and almost always refuse to let go once they've latched onto something.
The other way (one I NEVER chose to join in on) was to walk barefoot through that creek and hope a crawfish would find one of your toes appealing enough to clamp onto it! I use to watch my brother and sisters walk the creek trying to catch crawfish but was never foolish enough to try it myself!
Every so often my father would bring home huge bags of crawfish for the family. I'm not sure if he bought them, trapped them himself, or if they were a gift from someone taking pity on us. No matter...it was three hundred pounds of instant fun for us.
For racing, I would pick whichever one seemed to be crawling around the fastest and then pit it against my siblings' choices. For fighting, the champion would be the one with the largest pinchers. Either way, they all eventually ended up in a large caldron of boiling water flavored with crawfish boil seasonings, new potatoes and corn on the cob.
Then there would be a mad dash to cover our dining room table with multiple layers of newspapers as Mother began dumping pan after pan of delicious crawfish onto the papers and everyone could eat their fill. Tails were pulled from whatever was left over and put in the freezer for later. Many a night Mother would watch her TV shows while cracking open the shells until her fingers bled just so her children could have food for another day.
I didn't realize the sacrifices my mother made back then but I do now. There aren't many crawfish holes around the hills of Tennessee but whenever I do get the chance to enjoy some crawfish, I always remember the wonderful crawfish boils made possible by a parent doing everything she could to keep her children fed.