I love this photo. I was maybe three, chunky and barefoot in our neighborhood in Houston. My parents would buy live crabs—or, in this instance, crawfish—and boil them for a feast. It was their way of connecting to their Louisiana roots.

My mom tells a great story about how, when they took me to Red Lobster, they would usually give me applesauce. But one day, they foolishly gave me a taste of crab. What a mistake. I’d shriek, “crab! crab!” and refuse the paltry applesauce.

I don’t remember eating my first crawfish, but I love that this photo depicts my curiosity and utter lack of fear at the claws on this sucker. I do have memories of fighting the live crabs we’d buy with tongs, feeling superior to them, since their lives were fated to end abruptly when they would be thrown in the pot. Clearly, I was not cut out to be a vegetarian.

crawfish vs susan

From a young age, I can see that I’ve had an insatiable curiosity about the unknown, particularly when it comes to food. I guess it makes sense that I love to eat around the world!