Saturday, May 18, 2013


Last weekend I was in LA with my family. That's Lower Alabama not Los Angeles for those who aren't that familiar with the Redneck Riviera. About 40 of us descended upon my grandmother's house outside Mobile for the Harwood family reunion, which we always celebrate on Mother's Day weekend. 

It's a trek for me to get there, but it's worth it! Here are a few reasons why:
1. I'm so lucky to be able to hang out with my 93-year-old grandmother. 
2. I get my Southern food fix.
3. People talk just like I do there. 
4. No one thinks it's weird to drink a Coke for breakfast.
5. It's like being on set during the filming of Duck Dynasty. My sides hurt from laughing so hard.

While the main event is the fish fry on Saturday for dinner (which down South is actually lunch because dinner is called supper—confused yet?), I timed my arrival on Friday perfectly and pulled up right as the Low Country Boil was being served. Well, I guess to be geographically correct, you'd have to call it Low Alabama Boil. This one-pot wonder is comprised of potatoes, corn, smoked sausage and shrimp (or crawfish if they're in season) boiled in a spicy broth. It doesn't hurt to add some herb butter to it either. 

With a crew this large, there is no such thing as a little amount of food. My grandmother says she "just makes a lot" because God forbid anyone leaves hungry. In truth, the only thing anyone leaves with is an extra 5 lbs. I don't know how large a pot we used but I know we had 15 lbs of shrimp alone in it. This dish is great for a crowd and is downright effortless to make—not to mention effortless to eat. Well, I mean you do have to peel your own shrimp but that doesn't really take all that much effort.

And we do it classy down in LA with newspaper table cloths and rolls of paper towels for napkins. It's been a long time since I had a Busch Light beer (read the ratings here and see what you're missing), but it was actually the perfect beverage for such a feast.  

Other highlights of the weekend were:
The family tree we made on a paper napkin

The four Harwood sisters

Fresh oysters on the half shell

"Now we're cooking in peanut oil!" which means it's all good, like jalapeƱo hush puppies

The perfect plate

Homemade peach and blueberry cobbler 

I hope you had as much fun celebrating moms as I did! 
Love you, Monk!

Low Country Boil

1 3-oz package extra-spicy boil-in-the-bag crab boil 
1 12-oz bottle pale ale beer
1 lemon, cut in half
3 lbs baby red potatoes 
2 lbs mild smoked sausage (i.e. keilbasa), cut into 2-in pieces
6 ears of corn, cut into thirds
4 lbs unpeeled, uncooked medium shrimp
Cocktail sauce for serving

Combine the first three ingredients and 5 quarts of water in a 12-quart covered stock pot. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Add potatoes and sausage; cover and cook 10 minutes. Add corn; cover and cook 5 minutes. 
Add shrimp; cover and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 10 minutes. Drain. Serve with cocktail sauce. Serves 10-12.


  1. Oooh man, that makes me crave grandmas cookin'. Looks delicious!! Those hush puppies are now ALL I want in life!

  2. Holl's that sounds great, but I'm in HI so it's going to have to be Tiki Tini's and Macadamian Nut Encrusted Mahi Mahi for now. But I promise to try and make that when I get home. What kind of beer to drink that with?