Shrimp are for sale on the dock at Calabash, North Carolina.
My family of four Methodists ate fried fish on Friday night when I was growing up because that's when the freshest fish were available at the nearby Danville, Virginia, seafood market. My grandfather, with whom we lived, liked finned fish — not crustaceans, bivalves, or other obvious sea dwellers. (As fas as I know, Granddad Charlie never saw the ocean in all his 92 years.) On Fridays he brought home “a catch” from Danville.
I was probably three or four years old when I first ate seafood at the beach. As I remember, big shrimp in an iceberg lettuce-lined parfait glass were drizzled in catsup-colored cocktail sauce and set before me. Very wonderful fingerfood for a young child, although I doubt if my mother let me eat them that way. Nevertheless, I loved those delicately flavored water creatures.
Before long I tried them fried, and then, much later, on the Gulf Coast, shrimp everywhichaway — in gumbo, bisque, etouffee, sauced, etc., and best of all, barbecued shrimp at Pascal's Manale Restaurant in New Orleans (see Tom Fitzmorris' related story), where I ate the Whole Thing, ten tiny feet, bug eyes, antennae and all. Fabulous!
The following photos show just-caught shrimp for sale in Calabash, North Carolina. Incidentally, when you take home shrimp, fresh or frozen, the most important rule to remember is: don't overcook these succulent morsels.
Copyright © 2002–2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.