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TONGS FOR THE MEMORIES

I read an article in the L.A. Times that the Swedish ambassador was coming to Los Angeles and a banquet would be held in his honor. He wanted a crayfish feast, but the crayfish had to come from Lake Tahoe because of the purity of the water, a little different from the muddy waters Cajun crawfish boils originate at.

It so happened, I would be taking my family to Lake Tahoe for a camping trip a few weeks hence. Near the campground was a nice little beach with a small pier. I was doing a little snorkeling around the pier and as the water at Tahoe is so clear, I noticed scores and scores of crayfish crawling along the bottom. I quickly went back to camp, grabbed my scuba game bag and a pair of kitchen tongs. I managed to catch about three dozen of the little critters and my daughters brought in a few more. Back at camp, we boiled them in salted water and served them with melted butter, much like we had done with lobster or crab. They were really delicious, very lobster like in flavor, completely different from the Louisiana variety.

The next day I was back diving with my tongs. There were a couple of other campers also diving with tongs. By the third day, there were about five tong divers, and by the end of the week at least ten. I'd started a trend, a gourmet one at that. I haven't been back to Tahoe since and have only had the New Orleans spice enhanced crawfish, delicious in their own way, but not the same as those taken from the crystal clear waters of the California/Nevada gem.

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