Friday, October 12, 2012
A Farewell To Prawn
Tomorrow, I will murder my grief with gluttony. With this diary entry, I dedicate myself to tomorrow's vulgar exploit. Should this pledge result in my immediate demise, this letter will serve as my farewell correspondence (and dire warning) to the public at large.
I was a childhood shrimp devotee. More than pizza, more than peanut butter, more than ice cream, I loved fried shrimp. My restaurant selection for birthday dinners was always Red Lobster. Every year, I ordered twenty-one fried butterfly shrimp. I ate in modest nibbles, chewing slowly, savoring every moment of blissful consumption. I ate the tails too, happily. As I matured, my taste became eclectic, and variations crept into my annual repertoire: scampi, coconut tossed, stuffed, popcorn, cocktail.
From there, I branched out, and over the course of a decade, I explored the full range of exoskeletal underwater cuisine. Crab was a lot of work, but worth the effort. Lobster was superb, but too expensive for my limited budget unless I found an all you can eat deal. When I stumbled upon these opportunities, I eschewed the diversions the restaurant placed before me, like corn and potatoes, and focused solely on my creatures. My record is twelve in one sitting. Calamari? A staple of my diet. I preferred the whole squid over the rings, because whole ones' heads explode when you bite down. (Seriously satisfying on so many levels.) Crawfish tasted too much like fish. I avoided them for a long time after an unpleasant first experience. (That was at a buffet. In hindsight, I realize this may have affected their quality.)
As an adult, Long John Silver's became a favorite pit stop, and every couple months I made the pilgrimage there so I could ravage obscene quantities of shrimp and clams. I even began to enjoy fish. I finally found them appetizing as long as they were breaded, fried, and doused in lemon and malt vinegar.
My lifelong dalliance with seafood reached peak refinement in recent years. A visit to New Orleans revealed the majesty of oysters and mussels. I discovered that salmon is agreeable, particularly the smoked variety. My most recent birthday feast selection was a sizable crock of bouillabaisse, which includes just about every organism I've mentioned so far plus a few others in a tomato stew.
My gastronomic existence was going swimmingly (ahem) until a recent visit to the Popeye's drive-thru. Throughout my adulthood, I've discovered I now enjoy foods I found repulsive as a child, such as broccoli, cauliflower, certain fish, pickles, and others too mundane to list. Based upon these revelations, I figured that fried crawfish were a safe bet early on a Saturday afternoon.
I was sadly mistaken. Yes, the taste was fine. Good, even. When I experienced fever symptoms later that day, I failed to make the connection between my temperature and my lunch. I was so foolish, in fact, that I returned for seconds on Sunday. When I broke out in hives along my legs, arms, and neck, I realized my mistake. I itched. I bitched. Damn mud bugs.
I had developed an allergy. The questions became: was I suddenly allergic to all shellfish, just crawfish, or was this a totally unrelated phenomenon?
It took weeks before I summoned the courage to find out. I ordered shrimp, of course.
I must now reveal that I have betrayed your trust, reader. I was all set to lie and claim that I can longer enjoy my favorite class of food. This false pretense was to be utilized as an excuse for tomorrow's escapade. But I won't lie. Tomorrow's feast is completely unrelated to this love letter to crustaceans.
Not long after that Popeye's debacle, I ate the humongous pile of fried shrimp, and I was fine. No allergic reaction. Tentatively, I ate my way through the underwater community. Clams and lobster? Sure. Fish, mussels, oysters? I didn't die. Not a single hive. I even had the opportunity last week to throw some live blue shell crab into a steamer as they tried to pinch my hand. I imagine they knew of my ill intentions, and wanted to avoid the hot cauldron of death. They tasted great. I lived; they did not. Once again, a clean bill of health.
So I really have no excuse. Then again, I need none. I only affect a sense of apology for what I intend to do. In reality, I feel no guilt, only feverish excitement for this impending gluttony.
I am making bacon cheeseburgers using Krispy Kreme glazed donuts for the buns. Instead of cheese slices, I'm going to liquefy a block of Velveeta and dip the motherfuckers whole in it. I am going to wear a goddamned bib. Maybe even diapers. (just kidding on that last part) I will eat and eat until I fall comatose.
And then, on Sunday, I'm going to wake up late and go to Long John Goddamned Silver's again. Because I can.
Life is good.
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