The Potters recently met good friends Katherine and John at a famous restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, that is noted for its Southern food. This landmark has great Cajun dishes, my personal favorite.
I had a dish appropriately named “Death by Gumbo.” It won’t kill you, but it will make you think you have died and gone to heaven.
I grew up in the deep South, sometimes called the Gulf South. Fresh seafood “off the boat” was a way of life. I have been visiting New Orleans since I was 15 years old. “Nawlins” is a place to eat and eat well.
My first corporate communication job took me regularly to the Cajun country of South Louisiana, a gourmet paradise. To this day, I love oysters, shrimp, crawfish, crabs, and almost every kind of fish. I love to cook Southern dishes such as red beans and rice, gumbo, etc.
But Dylan was correct in singing, “the times they are a changing.” The shellfish I grew up loving was wild, fresh, clean, and pure. Now, much of what we get in restaurants and super markets is grown in questionable faraway places and shipped in. Just to be on the safe side these days, the savvy gastronome must ask the origins of delicacies like shrimp and crawfish. You want fresh Gulf of Mexico shrimp and South Louisiana crawfish. Period.
Case in point, the crawfish tails that populated my Death by Gumbo dish. I have trouble even saying it, for it was that traumatic.
The crawfish were from China!
Is nothing sacred anymore? Look at the label on damn near anything these days, and it will likely say “Made in China.” The Chinese appear to make everything we use. The Chinese own most of our national debt. Now they are about to purchase Hummer from bankrupt GM. Yet it seems that all this is not enough. They now supply crawfish for my gumbo.
I may never get over this. It just isn’t right.