You know how everyone has a secret? When you find out, you think, “Really? She did that? She does that?” I have one of those secrets. It’s dirty. It keeps me out late at night. It makes me a little ashamed because it’s not something women are ‘supposed’ to do. And maybe that’s why I do it. I shrimp. Not wanting to be stereotyped helped me pick my college major. Sounds weird, but lots of people were shocked when they learned I was a chemistry major. More colleagues and acquaintances than you’d think were surprised when they learned I owned motorcycles. Anyway.
It all began last year after I had moved home. I was single, tired of unpacking and working on the house, and found out the shrimp were ‘running’. So, I borrowed my neighbor’s net, got a quick lesson on how to throw it, bought a lantern, and recruited my cousin to keep me company. I got dirtier than I thought possible and caught a measly two dozen shrimp, but I had fun. I laughed heartily as my cousin squealed trying to get my few shrimp in a container. That night, I proudly shelled my shrimp and filled two skewers for a cookout with a friend. One got dropped in the sand and the germophobe in me wouldn’t let me eat it. Net gain: one dozen small shrimp.
Fast forward a year when I had company for a few days. In an effort to entertain my guest, I suggested we go shrimping. We tried it from the ‘backyard’. No shrimp there, but we couldn’t have caught them anyway. Then, I found this video illustrating how to throw a cast net. Success! So, two fishing licenses, a cast net, bait, gas and five hours later, we had 1.5 pounds of headed, small shrimp. Only $147 per pound, but those expensive shrimp were good!
Now, we’ve been shrimping several times. We bought a second lantern, supplies for the boat, a river-suitable anchor, multiple tanks of gas and we’re up to a total of approximately 12 pounds of medium shrimp.
But you can’t put a price tag on all of it. The sunsets are amazing and make you really appreciate the beauty of God’s world. Being outside for a few hours is wonderful. You’re physically moving instead of staring at a computer. You meet some interesting people.
The biggest pay-off is that I’m going to fix a shrimp dinner for my Grandmother. I am temporarily living on property my grandparents bought in 1966 when there were alligators, manatee, blue crabs, water moccasins, turtles and all sorts of other creatures here on a regular basis. (Thankfully, the water moccasins have disappeared, but so have the blue crab.) My Mother and I lived here with them when I was very young. My Grandfather shrimped in the backyard every year and we ate shrimp all year long. He taught me to manage a crab trap, fish, smoke mullet and shuck oysters.
I asked my Grandmother if she’s had shrimp lately. She said she eats them sometimes. I said “but you don’t get shrimp that come from your yard and that your Granddaughter caught’. I think my Grandfather would be proud. Some dirty secrets are worth the tarnish on your image 🙂
Potentially interesting links
Shrimp with Roasted Red Pepper Cream from Southern Living (not as unhealthy as it sounds)
If you can’t catch your own seafood, but are concerned about the environment, check out these links:
- Download your own regional guide to choosing sustainable seafood
- Emeril’s green episode on sustainable shrimp
- Decoding shrimp labels
- Site with a little education, recommended stores and restaurants for sustainable shrimp