The featured picture of this blog was taken on the banks of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, LA in April of 2015.
From what I am told, early March to Mid-June is peak season for crawfish. I was taken to Big Fisherman Seafood for my first taste of crawfish – in season! I exited the small storefront with a brown paper bag in hand filled with crawfish, red potatoes, and corn. Next door at Breaux Mart, we picked up some orange juice and champagne, plastic cups and a newspaper and headed for the park.
Food doesn’t have to arrive on a white plate in a fine dining restaurant for it to be five stars. I have gained a deep appreciation for food that is harvested locally; where the food tells a story, and the locals commune around it for a season.
Late in August, my husband and I returned to New Orleans. I desperately sought out crawfish, wanting to recreate my Spring experience. Big Fisherman Seafood wasn’t open. We found some crawfish on Bourbon Street at a restaurant that kept them frozen. The experience just wasn’t the same. It was comparable to the feeling you get when you arrive at a store during a big blowout sale only to find picked over items like the shirt with the hole in it, hanging halfway off the hanger on the clearance rack. No fault to anyone, the experience was discounted compared to the former. I felt like a tourist trying to capture the cliche experience, instead of a visitor emerging myself in the culture and discovering the rhythm of the community.
That was a valuable lesson about food for me. I love food, and the memories it creates with the ones I love. Food is a basic necessity for everyone. That basic need looks different for everyone because we all live in different environments. For example, wild caught Alaskan salmon is on my list of things to eat. Sure, Whole Foods may stock it, frozen and ready to eat here in Illinois, but wouldn’t it be awesome to eat in Alaska with the locals in May? To me, it is really exciting to learn about where and when the earth produces certain foods. Food is no longer something I look at as just a means to filling my hungry belly, but I look at it as an eclectic & vibrant source of life that brings people together in wonderful ways.
What is in season in the Spring in the Midwest ? Click here to find out What’s In Season?