Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Crap Consuming Underwater Cockroaches: Mmm, Mmm Good!

by john robertson (writer), Minneapolis, MN, January 17, 2009


In China it's the Year of the Ox; in America it just may be the Year of the Craw-Fish!

Some things are just never as good as they promise to be. For example: sequels to previously good summer blockbusters. The movie version of best selling novels. Folksy presidents from Texas who struggle with English. FEMA after a flood in the French Quarter. The grass on the other side.

When I was a kid my folks got it in their minds that moving us out of the burbs and onto a ranch in the country would be a wholesome way to raise up their brood. They purchased a three acre ranch fully furnished with props. It came with a pony named Trigger, a coop full of hens and one rooster, a pond with ducks and geese, and a barn and stables. Our dogs, Lavern and Shirley, had never seen hens before and decided to murder and dissect them all, one by one, like psycho serial killers. After their little genocide was complete, they started killing the neighbor's chickens and they wound up in a private school for wayward young ladies called "the pound" after they vivisected his blue-ribbon-wearing, prized turkey. Poor Lavern and Shirley. They meant well. It wasn't their fault they were natural born killers, and perhaps their dark side never would have been triggered if they had remained in their manicured, suburban, fenced backyard.

After the hens were gone we were reduced to stealing eggs from the ducks and geese every morning. Now, unless you have gotten to know a goose personally, you probably don't realize how mean they are. I was terrified of the geese, but since egg collecting was one of my chores before school (before the sun rose even), I had to risk life, limb and facial scarification to rob their nests. Geese are not as clean as chickens, because for one, they live on the muddy, slimy shores of ponds instead of in smart little hen houses. I had to get my galoshes and a flashlight and kerslosh around through a gauntlet of odors, smells and slime to find their disgusting eggs; which they mistakenly thought were fertilized, and so they attacked me like Baptists Picketers at Planned Parenthood. I refused to eat the eggs, despite the battle, because their yolks are the wrong color and they smell funny. My mother tried to trick me several times by making omelette's with them and telling me they were grocery store eggs. I would'a known that french cheese stench anywhere and I have never eaten goose egg since.

Our pony got some kind of heart parasite and had to be shot. I kept his saddle in my room as a sentimental reminder of why I hated country living.

The one good memory I had was catching craw-fish. They were rampant on our acreage and the first time I discovered one it was attached to my toe, hanging for dear life as I screamed in terror. I was convinced we were being attacked by aliens, as I had never seen any such thing in the suburbs, and furthermore, getting pinched by them really hurt! Nevertheless, once I became accustomed to them hanging around, they quickly became my favorite toy. They looked like giant insects and I learned they ate the duck poop that fell to the bottom of the pond. My cousin came to visit, and he taught me to tie liver to a string at the end of a stick, and fishing for them was joyful enough that for a few hours a day a young boy could forget that his parents moved him to an isolated mud farm where everything he ever loved died in horrible ways or was sent away. However, the one thing craw-fish never incited in me was an appetite for lunch, and later in life when I discovered that Southerners not only romanticize the Confederacy, but they also vote Republican AND they eat craw-fish, I was appalled! How could craw-fish possibly be edible?

Well, let me tell ya, Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen has changed my mind. Their craw-fish etouffee was mouth watering! Served on a bed of rice, I must say that was the most delicious crap consuming underwater cockroach I have ever had. It was fiery without being too hot to taste the buttery, and the salty and the sweet and the onion. It was paired with green beans that were probably sauteed in bacon fat, but hell, it was like crack. I had to clean the plate.

My partner and I shared dessert. The server suggested their bananas foster bread pudding. He warned that it would take about 15 minutes because they make it fresh to order. Wow! It was perfect. I am so not a bread pudding kinda guy but this was warm and dense and drizzled with a caramel sauce and little pieces of bananas hidden in the pudding like Easter eggs.

The price was reasonable and fair for two people having a three course meal with wine. We got out of there with only an $80 bill. The service was not as hand and foot as my partner demands, but it was certainly very friendly and sufficient.

So, the moral of the story? Some things are just never as good as they promise to be; especially the things we tend to desire and build up in our minds. However, some things are misunderstood and scorned and if tried with an open mind, prove to be worthwhile. For example: sequels to previously good summer blockbusters. The movie versions of best selling novels. Black liberal presidents with a command of the English language. Voters in the French Quarter. The Yankee Flag. Craw-fish Etouffee.

Who knows. Maybe next year I'll eat goose eggs... and like it! Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen 2261 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 548-6900

About the Writer

john robertson is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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