It starts with a good supply of crawfish, spicy Louisiana-style music, and a beautiful spring afternoon. Set up your backyard for a party and invite a large group of fun-loving friends with a taste for spicy cuisine, and you're ready to have a crawfish boil.
If you live in Louisiana, you've no doubt already been to or heard of these informal backyard gatherings. But if you don't live in Cajun country, you'll find it a tradition well worth exporting. Ask natives what they like about these boils and they invariably mention the casual atmosphere.
The unrushed atmosphere that's a necessary part of a crawfish boil seems to relax people. As guests peel and eat the crawfish, they talk, tell jokes, and catch up with each other. The typical pattern at a boil is to eat, take a break, then return to the table to crack and pull again.
The food's messy nature is also a part of its appeal. Folks elbow up to the table to eat their fill, feasting not only on the tasty crustaceans, but also on other bounty from the pot, including corn on the cob, potatoes, and, in recent years, artichokes and garlic.
The following recipes, resources, and checklists will help make your crawfish boil as authentic as a gathering down on the bayou. As they say in Cajun country, Laissez les bons temps rouler! ("Let the good times roll!")
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