The Shrimp Remembers When (and “Finding the Funny”!)

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Before we get to the shrimp, let me share a typical conversation between my husband, Chris, and me. This one involved me trying to figure out how to watch one of his new favorite shows, Portlandia, on his iPad using Netflix. He had just watched the second episode and suggested I watch the first episode after he was done. So, after he handed me his iPad, I said:

“So, where’s the first one?”

“It’s the first one.”

“I know, but how do I get to the first episode?”

“It’s at the beginning.”

“At the beginning of what?”

“It’s at the front.”

“The front of where? How do I figure out where it is on this thing?”

“You look for the first one.”

“But where?”

“Before the second one.”

“CHRIS!”

“Okay, it’s at the beginning.”

“Oh, never mind. I figured it out.”

He knew I would figure it out. Or at least he was hoping.

One of my favorite things to do is observe other couples and the way they interact. I find it very amusing. One couple I loved to watch together were my aunt and uncle.  They loved each other very much and made each other laugh. A couple of months ago, I wrote about my uncle passing away. It was a sad and dark time for me, but nothing compared to what my aunt, his sons and his siblings endured and are enduring.

Just like with all grieving, some days are better than others.

For me, I guess Sunday wasn’t a great day and it all started with shrimp.

My uncle was a shrimper in Florida, but would shrimp all over the place. He took his shrimp boat through the Panama Canal once and it went all the way up to Washington state. When my aunt and uncle came into town, or when my grandmother returned to Texas from a Florida visit, we ate shrimp. Lots and lots of shrimp.

On Sunday, I didn’t eat any fried shrimp from Florida. I was actually eating a grilled shrimp po’ boy at The Fish Place. This is my new favorite seafood restaurant, which, unfortunately for many of you, is only in the Houston area. That po’ boy was the best I have ever, ever eaten!  Anyway, I saw my 4-year-old’s popcorn shrimp sitting all pretty and yummy in the red kiddie basket, reached over and ate one. It was goooooood. It was seasoned perfectly. The batter was just right.

The fried shrimp tasted like the kind my uncle used to make.

All of sudden, right there in the middle of The Fish Place, I started to cry. My eyes welled up. My mind was suddenly filled with images of my aunt, uncle, grandmother, mom and dad gathered in the kitchen peeling, washing, deveining, butterflying, dipping and rolling shrimp in their special mixture. The next step would be to stack them in a brown bag and layer them with paper towels in between the layers before frying them. This was an ALL DAY affair.

While sun tea brewed on the front porch, of course, and the fresh cole slaw got made.

Does anyone make “sun tea” anymore? Source

And my grandmother, my Nana, made sure we were all cool from the summer heat, refreshed, feeling at home in her home and happy.

We ate the best fried shrimp EVER.

Yesterday, I sent my aunt a message and asked if I could share my uncle’s fried shrimp “recipe”. Everything in it is “to taste”, of course. My uncle was an excellent cook and dashed in the seasonings as he saw fit. My aunt was more than happy to share his fried shrimp recipe and I’m pretty sure my uncle would have loved that I passed it on to you.

-Clean and devein the shrimp.
-Cut the shrimp a little deeper as you devein them (“butterflying”).
-Make an egg mixture with eggs, milk and water.
-Make a cracker meal breading using LANCE’S CRACKER MEAL. (They used this kind because it was very fine.)
-Pour out a mound of the cracker meal and season it with salt, pepper and OLD BAY SEASONING.
-Dip the shrimp in the egg mixture and in the breading mixture (pat the shrimp down in them to coat them really well) and fry to golden brown.


So, remember, Lance’s Cracker Meal and Old Bay Seasoning.

Here, I’ll make your grocery list:

1. Lance’s Cracker Meal
2. Old Bay Seasoning
3. Eggs
4. Milk
5. SHRIMP!
6. People magazine

That seasoning definitely makes the difference because these shrimp ARE GOOD.  I have eaten many different kinds and love theirs the best. Those at The Fish Place are a very close second. (No, they’re not paying me. Yet. I may pitch to be their spokesperson. I could stand at the roadside in a big fish costume with a hook hanging out of my mouth to try to LURE people in to their restaurant. Like that one?)

Though I never really fry anything at home (except for fried green tomatoes every now and then- don’t even get me started about how uppity I am over the preparation of fried green tomatoes), I think I will start frying some shrimp sometimes. The shrimp frying family tradition was a good one.

Next time I eat them, though, I’ll be sure to have some Kleenex.

And a glass of sun tea.

*The title, of course, is in reference to Trisha Yearwood’s 1993 song “The Song Remembers When” for all of you non-country music listenin’ folks.*

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