People in Louisiana and eastern Texas love to eat crawfish. Eating crawfish, however, is a multi-step process. Some eaters “suck the head” of a crawfish to get all the juices. Then eaters “pinch the tail” to pull out the meat inside.
The full phrase “punch the tail and suck the head” (or reversed: “suck the head and pinch the tail") has been used since at least the 1980s. The phrase has sexual references and is not always used in polite crawfish-eating company.
Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are closely related. They breathe through feather-like gills and are found in bodies of water that do not freeze to the bottom; they are also mostly found in brooks and streams where there is fresh water running, and which have shelter against predators. Most crayfish cannot tolerate polluted water, although some species such as the invasive Procambarus clarkii are more hardy. Some crayfish have been found living as much as 3 m (10 feet) underground.
Like other edible crustaceans, only a small portion of the body of a crayfish is edible. In most prepared dishes, such as soups, bisques and étouffées, only the tail portion is served. At crawfish boils or other meals where the entire body of the crayfish is presented, however, other portions may be eaten. Claws of larger boiled specimens are often pulled apart to access the meat inside. Another favourite is to suck the head of the crayfish, as seasoning and flavour can collect in the fat of the boiled interior. A popular double entendre laden phrase heard around crawfish season in Louisiana derives from this practice: “Suck the head, pinch the tail”
Wikipedia: Cajun cuisine
The crawfish boil is a celebratory event where Cajuns boil crawfish, potatoes, onions and corn over large propane cookers. Lemons and small muslin bags containing a mixture of bay leaves, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper and other spices, commonly known as “crab boil” or “crawfish boil” are added to the water for seasoning. The results are then dumped onto large, newspaper-draped tables and covered in spice blends. Zatarain’s, Louisiana Fish Fry and Tex Joy are popular commercial blends. Cocktail sauce, mayonnaise and Tabasco are common condiments. The seafood is scooped onto large trays or plates and eaten by hand. During times when crawfish are not abundant, shrimp and crabs are prepared and served in the same manner.
Attendees are encouraged to “suck the head” of a crawfish by separating the abdomen of the crustacean and sucking out the abdominal fat/juices. The practice is known by the common phrase is “Pinch the tail, suck the head.” Other popular practices include kissing the tail section of a soon-to-be-cooked crawfish, leading to the vulgar phrase: “Kiss my ass, suck my head, eat me.” The phrase has been printed on shirts and posters in years past.
Often, newcomers to the crawfish boil or those unfamiliar with the traditions are jokingly warned “not to eat the dead ones.” When live crawfish are boiled, their tails curl beneath themselves. When dead crawfish are boiled, their tails are straight and limp.
How To’s - Eat Crawfish?
SUCK THE HEAD FOR A LITTLE EXTRA CAJUN FLAVOR. (OPTIONAL)
PINCH THE END OF THE TAIL AND PULL THE MEAT FROM THE SHELL.
2 March 1988, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, pg. 1E:
“You suck the head and you pinch the tail.”
20 November 1988, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA):
... whose pencil drawing, “Pinching Tail and Sucking Heads, New Orleans Style,” depicts a table laden with all the fixings of a crawfish boil and four pairs ...
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From: (Dean Blakeley MD)
Date: 1 Mar 93 12:50:33 GMT
Local: Mon, Mar 1 1993 8:50 am
Subject: Re: Skaters (was Re: Berkeley)
(The part of eating crawfish, though, I still can never quite get right. Does one suck the head and pinch the tail or pinch the head and suck the tail.)
13 April 1997, Saratoga (FL) Herald-Tribune, “Crawfish: Suck the “mud bug’ head”:
The key words to remember are “suck the head and pinch the tail’’ when eating crawfish, sometimes called “mud bugs’’ or “crawdads.’’
Texas Herf on the Lake Photo Album (1997)
Steve Saka teaching MaryApp the fine art of “suckin’ head and pinchin’ tail”. Always a real trooper, Mary threw herself into the crawfish frenzy with verve and gusto. As you can see, she’s up to her elbows in dripping crawfish juice and “parts”.
Rollin’: The ezine for Riders (May 2001)
Bring on Da Crawfish
We arrived back at the Smith house with plenty of time before dinner. The crowd was already growing, and the number of motorcycles was increasing at a rapid rate. It was a regular who’s who of LDR riders and more than one person asked about Bruce Barge.
Shane gave out plenty of free lessons on “Suckin’ Head and Pinchin’ Tail”
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03-26-2004, 09:34 AM
Joe Perry said it had been almost 20 years since they had been in Laf., LA but he did remember a saying about “Suckin’ heads and squeezing something”. Got a big laugh/scream out of the crowd ‘cause that refers to eating crawfish...you pinch the tail to get the meat out and some people suck the water/seasonings out of the head, hence, “Pinchin’ tail and Suckin’ Head”, a double entendre well known in Acadiana.
Can You Spank A Sea Monkey?
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Pinchin’ tail and suckin’ head, baby. Mmmm...
In two short months we’ll be having our annual Krusty Crawfish Boil, where much fun and sun and beer and crawfish and beer and more crawfish and more beer are to be had. There’s a shitload of food unrelated to the mudbug for those who are a bit prissy and prudish, but we shun them for they are un-deserving. We’ll have a new recruit with my sister and her boyfriend coming in town for the festivities. He’s never been to Texas and never had mudbugs so we’ll have to make sure he gets the full effect of the crawfish scene.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Sucking Head and Pinching Tail
Crawfish season is in full tilt boogie now. The 2006 season was disappointing but this year shows great promise of a big, flavorful harvest. The crawfish season typically begins in January or February, depending on weather conditions, peaks in mid-March to mid-May, and finishes in June or July.
Some southern locales such as Lafayette, Louisiana, report the biggest consumption of crawfish is for Good Friday, the last meatless Friday before Easter Sunday for the Catholic population.
Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans who do not bite in cold weather. Hurricane Katrina pushed so much saltwater inland that the 2006 crawfish harvest suffered. The crawfish were smaller, had less tail meat and were not so tasty.
The favorite way of eating crawfish is to boil them in spicy seasoned water along with new potatoes and corn on the cob, then empty the pot on a newspaper covered picnic table, outdoors with lots of cold soda or beer. The seasonings from the boiling water concentrate in the head of the crawfish, which contains the body fat, and it is considered an important element in crawfish consumption.
Eating crawfish is a five step process. First the head is pulled off by twisting the tail one way the then the other to break it off. Next you peel the crawfish by crushing and peeling two or three segments of the shell from the tail to get to the meat. Then, with your teeth, you grab the meat and pull it out. The next step is to pick up the head and such the fat out. Finally, if the claws are big enough, pull the largest segment and eat the meat using your teeth to pull it out.
Do you suck the head after you pinch the tail and eat the meat? (crawfish that is)
By faithfulvisions freebagger Asked May 15 2007 6:43AM
08-09-2007, 10:18 PM
Re: Louisiana Foodie Alert
mmmmm.....pinchin’ tail and suckin’ head......doesn’t get better dan dat!
Sucking head and pinching tail.
Tags: Crawfish, eating
Categories: Travel and Vacations
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From: Marc Schneiderman
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 07:07:04 -0400
Local: Thurs, Mar 27 2008 7:07 am
Subject: Re: tooting own horn
>We could have had you doing live TV for us. Maybe with Miss Crawfish.
I love sucking head and pinching tail.
Blonde on Blonde Action
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
SUCKING HEAD, PINCHING TAIL
We’ll use this post as a way of introduction and perhaps, for some, as a cultural/culinary taste of the South. So this weekend didn’t suck… much. For those that may not be familiar with the fine art of crawfish consumption, let us enlighten you. The title of this blog refers to a method of extracting the meat from the mudbug (and there’s not much there). We won’t go into the gory details (you can read about it here) but suffice to say it’s a messy, crude and delicious process made better by good friends, great music and a beer or cocktail or both—much the same way this blog is meant to be enjoyed.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Friday, June 13, 2008 • Permalink
Alright, there are really phrases that sounds funny in eating cooked live crawfish. The sucking, pinching and kissing. I think it’s part of experiencing how good the crawfish is.
It’s really good to eat cooked live crawfish. So always choose to eat the crawfish with curl tail.