That’s Cray(fish)

Location

Uppsala 76130

Sweden

59° 45′ 34.5024″ N18° 42′ 4.8888″ E

Date:  Mon, 03/04/2013 – 5:11pm
Introduction:: 
A long bus ride to Norrtälje led to an unexpectedly great time with surprisingly great food and friends. Shortly after arriving in Sweden I met up with my friend Sebastian in Stockholm, where he is from. He and I then went with some of his other friends to a city called Norrtälje for a ”Crayfish Party.” Crayfish are basically tiny lobsters and are eaten in a similar way; with lots of butter. Back home we call them ‘crawdaddies.’ There were about 16 of us and we must have eaten about 20 lbs of crayfish between us! After loosening our belts and waiting a while, we jumped into the Baltic Sea to cool off.
What food did I try?: 

That ish Cray(fish)

I was quite nervous to try the crayfish for several reasons. There is a certain Swedish procedure/protocol for eating crayfish, which I was sort of apprehensive about. Mainly because you are supposed to grab the tail and twist it off before sucking the juice from the upper half of the crayfish. This seemed a bit barbaric and unappetizing, but I tried it, and guess what? It was delicious! You then remove the shell of the crayfish and, as you would for a lobster, eat up. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, however not only did I come out unscathed, I found out that I love Swedish crayfish/crawdaddies!

 

How did I feel when I tried it?: 

Initially I had some mixed feelings about the crayfish party. I had caught crawdaddies in the past but never eaten one. However, after giving it a chance, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was it not as gross as I had anticipated, it was fantastic! It was also rewarding to eat an historically traditional dish with native Swedes and to feel accepted in the process!

How is the food prepared?: 

I wish I knew more about how these foods were prepared, but sadly, I have been more on the eating side of things than on the cooking side. I know that the crayfish were placed in the oven at a low temperature for a long time (i.e. slow-cooked) after being seasoned and marinated. Unfortunately, I know little more than that about how the food I have discussed is prepared.

Is this food connected to the local environment? How?: 

Yes! About half of Sweden is surrounded by water, which is why it is known for its fresh fish and seafood. Crayfish parties are long-held traditions which usher in new seasons and celebrate past ones, and for many ancient communities, the sea provided much of their food. Uppsala, where I study, is not especially near any major body of water, but fishing and agriculture have been fundamental staples of the Swedish diet and economy for many years.

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