So let’s say in a fit of madness you invited the _________(fill in the blank: family, neighbors, office friends, beer-drinking pals) for an impromptu mid-summer dinner. You have less than two hours to shop, cook and otherwise get ready. Watta ya do? First head to a grocer that has it all: shrimp, plump smoked sausages, small flavorful potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh green beans, crab/shrimp boil seasoning (such as Old Bay and/or Zatarain’s), great crusty bakery bread, butter, an assortment of mustards, cocktail sauce, and a truly fine dessert—oh, yes, cold beer and a few cheery bottles of wine, butcher paper and plastic table cover (or you can use trash bags).

Once home, line your dining table with plastic. Top with butcher paper. Add plenty of napkins, bread and butter, and the condiments. Shuck the corn and break in half. Scrub the potatoes. Trim ends off the beans. Cut sausages into pieces. Have a beer or glass of wine. Pick some garden flowers for the table.


When your guests arrive, while they have a drink—oops, while at the store you should also have bought some chips and dips, crackers and cheese or other appetizers). Put a large pot of water on to boil (size of pot depends on the amount of ingredients you bought which depends on how many guests you expect). Pot should hold all of the ingredients with room to spare for lots of water. (Think large stockpot for small group and turkey fryer for a crowd.) Add the seasoning. When water boils rapidly, add the ingredients in order of the time it takes them to cook: potatoes first, then sausages and corn, beans and finally shrimp. Call people to dinner. Drain the boil. Spread the feast directly onto the paper covered table. Voila! Done. Eat with fingers. This shrimp/sausage boil (aka Low Country Boil) is not only simple and easy to produce, but the eating with fingers encourages camaraderie and clean up is a snap. One pot to wash. No utensils or plates to complicate. EASY. Gotta do it again—and again—and again…