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Crawfish Boil Etiquette: Don't Piss Off the Guy with the Paddle

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As crawfish grow ever more popular in Houston, so do crawfish boils. Not a weekend goes by in spring when I don't have a friend or neighbor hosting a boil at their house. And thank God, too, because I have no yard in which to host one of my own. If this isn't happening to you yet, be the boil you want to see and start hosting your own.

For the rest of us: Remember, there are rules to attending crawfish boils that your friends and loved ones are so graciously holding. Just like you don't show up without a casserole to a potluck dinner, there is etiquette around a crawfish boil as well. (Not too much, or else it wouldn't be any fun, but you never want to be a bad guest.)

To help you ensure repeat invitations to future crawfish boils, I compiled a list of crawfish do's and don'ts with the assistance of two Cajun friends who regularly host [awesome] boils of their own. Heed their advice and you'll be the belle of the boil.

Do: Bring a new friend and introduce them to the awesomeness of crawfish boils.

Don't: Show up with an assload of plus-ones unless you've cleared it with the host. Crawfish boils aren't the cheapest affair to host. As such, lots of strategery goes into the guest list to insure the right amount of crawfish are procured.

Do: Wear clothes that you're okay never wearing again. If you plan to wear your "super cute" outfit, bring a t-shirt to wear over it during the boil.

Don't: Wear white, or bitch about your "super cute" outfit if it gets ruined.

Do: Bring a contribution: beer, ice, etc. It's Southern hospitality.

Don't: Tell the boiler how he/she should be treating the pot (this is the equivalent of someone telling you when to flip the burger on the grill during a barbecue).

Do: Only take one potato and one corn if supplies are limited. Then, fuss at the boiler for not having enough.

Don't: Be surprised if he whacks you with the paddle.

Do: Bring newspaper to line the table.

Don't: Sit. No one sits to eat crawfish.

Do: Allow others to circulate through the serving area/the table.

Don't: Don't be the douche who camps out at the table forever. This is not an eating contest. You are not Kobayashi.

Do: Inform the chef of your dietary needs before the boil if you're a pescatarian, and don't bitch about having sausage in the boil if you don't.

Don't: Bring people who don't enjoy eating crawfish or someone you have to peel for.

Do: Police your own pile of carcasses.

Don't: Show up just in time for the last batch and then complain that it's too spicy. It's always the spiciest.

Do: Bring your own lawn chair. No one owns 50 lawn chairs; if they do, then they need to host the next boil.

Don't: Don't bring your dog unless you ask first.

Do: Wash your hands outside with the hose pipe before you wash your hands inside and use a "good" towel.

Don't: Be that guest who just shows up when the crawfish is thrown on the table and leaves when it's gone; this is an all-day affair. Relax. Drink a beer. Make some new friends.

And perhaps the most important pieces of advice:

Do: Throw up anywhere else outside except the crawfish table or the pot.

Don't: Ever touch the host's music playlist.

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