Rouses Everyday - September & October - page 25

spiritual equivalent of ordering an order of onion rings “for the
table” while pondering the appetizers.
At the crucial moment when companions start looking around,
the Keeper of the Platter becomes the soul of hospitality and the
provider of options.
“Man, those shrimp look good.”
“They’re GREAT. Have one.”
“ You sure? I mean …”
“Oh yeah, I’ve got plenty.”
Many times, health-conscious
eaters forgo an order of crispy
French fries only to have wee
twinges of remorse once the
plates arrive. (Face it. We’ve
ALL been there.)
“Mind if I steal a couple of fries?”
“Sure, take all you want. Grab a hush puppy, too…”
Newcomers from far-flung places have likely never seen a stuffed
crab in a little aluminum shell-shaped tray, so the Keeper can pass it
around while they taste a couple of forkfuls.
“It’s like a Maryland crab cake, but better. And
when I was coming up, they used to serve them
in hollowed-out shells…”
Any fleeting interest or craving can be settled
in a matter of seconds. Pass a plate. Break off
a hunk. Have a taste. Help yourself.
By the time the check is paid, there’s nothing
left on the platter but a few lonely French fries,
couple of crispy shrimp tails and cornbread
crumbs from broken hush puppies.
And it’s then that the little-known secret of the seafood platter
reveals itself: Of COURSE it’s way too much food for one person,
but if you’re ready and willing to share — like your mama always
told you — it’s always JUST enough.
Find Us at the Fest!
Most popular on a seafood
platter? Shrimp! Look
for the Rouses Tent on
the boardwalk in Gulf
Shores at the 43rd annual
National Shrimp Festival,
Friday, October 9th through
Sunday, October 12th.
We'll be cooking!
eAt lIke A loCAl
Oftentimes the seafood
platter is dismissed as an
overwhelming catchall
offering designed for
the decision averse or
overtly gluttonous. As
a coastal cousin to the
plate, the platter seems
like an over-the-top stunt
meal better suited to a
roommate dare (“20 bucks
if you can eat it in 20 min-
utes”) than a relaxingmeal out.
In the seafood world, it’s “Op-
tion D: All of the Above” for big
eaters who suffer from option anxiety
and know nothing of portion control.
It’s easy to imagine yourself asking for a
platter by standing on the table, lifting your
arms to the sky, and announcing in a heroic “Game of
Thrones” baritone: “Bring me ALL of the fried things!”
(Or maybe that’s just me.)
Sure, it’s a lot of food, and in a way, my
companion would have a valid point about
the seafood platter bordering on culinary
overkill if measured in sheer tonnage. But
over the years I’ve learned that on special
occasions — especially when visiting
dignitaries are in town — you order the
seafood platter not for yourself, but for the
good of the group.
Let’s go back to our scene: three folks
opted (rightly) to go with the sensible option of a poboy for lunch.
Washed down with a cold beer, you’d be hard pressed to ask for a
better, more appropriate midday meal.
But once the Roast Beef Contingent have had a few bites of gravy-
soaked goodness, human nature and appetites kick in. “This is
great,” they think, “But that oyster looks fanTAStic.” Same with
the Shrimp Lover. “The kitchen did a great job with these swimps.
Wonder if the catfish is as good?”
If everybody had hewn strictly to the Poboy Program, sharing
would be a messy, awkward affair with high spatter potential and
elevated chance of brown gravy stains.
With its structural benefits of bounty and variety, the Seafood
Platter Solution resolves this conundrum of culinary curiosity and
relieves any table of the dreaded “Fear of Ordering Wrong.” It’s the
logic of the whole modern “small plate” movement (a taste here, a
nibble there) piled high in a cornucopia of gulf-caught goodness.
Any order of a Seafood Platter is essentially communal and the
Where y’eat? Deanie’s
Seafood serves over one
million diners a year. Their
giant fried seafood platters
are their number one seller.
The Bright Star, Bessemer, AL — photo courtesy
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