Friday, April 13, 2012

adjusting: or why I'm not eating bottom-dwellers

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Let me talk about crawfish for an undetermined number of hours, since typing these blogs typically takes me 2 days to write, between ER visits and toddlers spilling coffee down the stairs. (late breaking note: while I was typing this, Tristan pulled a CAKE off the counter. A CAKE. I wouldn't have even known, but he brought me some.)

in happier times
Crawfish, also known as crayfish or mudbugs, is like a mini-lobster. Only different. But you know the concept. Lobster, crab, crack the shell, extract delicious meat. Laugh at your spouse, who is looking extremely pale and horrified across the table, content with his $12 cheeseburger. It doesn't bother me, all right? It's food. You have to peel an orange, you have to dismember seafood. It tastes amazing, and I could buy it anywhere, when I lived in Texas. Oh, you didn't know I was from Texas? Yeah, I'm subtle about it, don't want to brag.

Then I moved here, where the "thing" is pricey BBQ that doesn't taste right. Every spring in KC, friends from TX start posting photos of their platters of steaming crawfish, with corn and potatoes. Even thinking about it now can bring me to tears... A couple of years ago, I got a hankerin, a bad hankering and I googled for local crawdads. All the links were for bait, y'all. It hurt me in my soul. I could have had some shipped, but a) I'm not a millionaire and b) I don't want to pay the extra shipping for the salmonella that would come with it. I gave up. Then I saw some measly little crawdads in the ice at Price Chopper. I bought them. I'm not proud of it, folks.

Those little Missouri/Kansas crawfish were awful. I mean, there was barely any meat at all, and it was tough, like chewing on shoe leather, whatever that is. I sat there with my little white paper package and I had to let it go. It wasn't an easy lesson to learn.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was driving down a side road and I saw a big sign with a crawfish on it, and a lot more signs, with other creatures forbidden by the Torah. My heart leaped inside me. The building looked decrepit, which was a great sign. Restaurants in ruins often indicate that the attention is on the food, and not on 3-ply toilet paper and pesky health department regulations. The second good sign was that the parking lot was packed. Wall to wall cars and trucks. I caught all this in a glance.

I purposed in my heart to return. I have given it considerable thought in the days since. I knew I'd have to go by myself, because all of my friends have terrible taste in food, and there's no way I'm taking my kids with me, because they would eat all my food. I had a plan. I don't think you understand the energy I devote to thinking about eating. It is one of my greatest joys. Food. Ah, food, I love you so.

Yesterday on my way to pick R2 up from school in an emergency run, I passed that same restaurant again. It should not speak badly of my devotion to my child that I slowed a little to read the sign and get more info. And then I noticed: the cars in the parking lot had price tags. All of them. And the restaurant signs were faded and unused. It was a crushing blow to realize that my one hope was a used car dealership.

It's okay. I'll be okay. Someday.

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