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Crawdad feed well worth the time, energy and... mess

WORTHINGTON -- There is a new show on one of the cable channels that show episodes of this guy traveling all over the world to see just how many visually distasteful things that he can put in his mouth and eat. I only watched it for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that this guy must be nuts.

I am willing to try different foods as long as they actually look like something a normal person might eat.

I was at the Round Lake Sportsman's Club's Horned Trout Tournament a few weeks ago and visited with a gentleman named Keith Bremer. We thought that it might be fun to have a crawdad feed sometime this summer, and that is exactly what we did last week.

I have eaten crawdads in a restaurant one other time in my life, but had never done it at home before.

Keith was going to show me the finer points.

He and his sons started by seining a small pond with a minnow seine and came up with the mother load of crawdads.

Keith had never harvested as large a volume from a pond this small before. Once the crawdads are collected, they are put in fresh clean water for 24-48 hours in order to kind of clean themselves out.

The next step is to de-vein them. This process is done just before you cook them, and is done with shrimp all the time -- although by a different method.

De-veining is accomplished by holding the crawdad firmly, trying not to get pinched by their giant claws, and grabbing the center section of their tail, twisting it a quarter turn and gently pulling it off and away. The crawdad is de-veined lickity split.

We went to the grocery store and bought a box of pre-mixed seasonings that comes in netting you just throw into a pot of boiling water.

There were several to choose from and we selected seasonings somewhere in the middle of the spicy scale. We also cut up a lemon and threw it in the pot as well. Once the water boiled we threw in a few hands full of the miniature lobsters and brought the water back to a boil. Seven minutes later it was time to scoop them out and let them cool.

When eating these morsels, you break the tail off and throw away the rest. You then peel the tail like a walnut and, after using more calories to peel it than you would to consume it, dip it in butter and get one good bite. You can take the body and suck the juices out of it, and I did try this, although it really didn't do anything for me.

It tastes much like a little bite of lobster, and we ate many. They are so small that you really never get full, but the sweet corn side dish did a good job of satisfying everyone's appetite.

I don't recommend trying to subsist on crawdads, but it was fun to do.

A crawdad feed will probably be an annual event in my summer pursuits.

As I have said many times, the time spent in the outdoors -- whether it is collecting crawdads or hunting pheasants -- is all about the family and friends that you get to do these activities with.

Thanks to Keith, Tyler and Travis for a great time and a new experience enjoying one of natures many bounties -- even if it was one of the smallest.