Crawfish Boil, Clam Bake, Low Country Boil, Maryland Crab Boil…Its All-American

La Place, LA

One thing I love about this place called America is the different food traditions. Something so simple as a seafood boil can mean various things in different parts of the country based on local traditions and what was available to people at the country’s infancy. 

On the Chesapeake Bay the abundance of blue crabs led to the tradition of Maryland Crab Boils. Down in Georgia and South Carolina shrimp are usually used and they call it a low country boil. In my place of birth, New England they call it a clam bake and use clams and/or lobster. I grew up in southwest Connecticut and the only clam bake I saw growing up involved the munches and a trip to IHOP, buts that’s neither her nor there.

I have been down in Louisiana all week and they can use shrimp or crab but the star of the show here is crawfish. Before I ever knew what a crawfish was, 1,400 miles northeast of La Place, LA as a kid I spent a lot of my time exploring the five-mile river (a fresh water river behind my childhood home that feeds into the Long Island Sound). We would pick up rocks and grab these mini lobster like creatures called crayfish (for you in Louisiana reading this, it’s not a typo, that’s a “y” not a “w”). We never thought that people would eat such things and after playing with them we would let them scurry back under their rock, decades later here I am learning how to eat them.

All of these seafood boils may have their difference in seasoning or a tweek on some ingredients but what they all have in common is the social aspect. With each of them, a bunch of people get together and enjoy the process and tradition. And when it’s all said and done that’s what makes the food taste even better.


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Categories: Travel


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