Thanksgiving classics include football, mashed potatoes, turkey, and epic lines at the grocery store. The families of "Swamp People," however, have their own classic traditions. And they put the swamp in Swampsgiving, literally. Here are four "Swamp" traditions that will probably make you feel grateful for your own list of errands this week.
1. Fry up some rodents.
There are more than a few ways to make your Thanksgiving feast a little different. Fried turkey is popular, and some families go vegetarian with meatless Tofurkey. But we give top honors to "Swamp" matriarch Liz Cavalier for a truly, um, original Thanksgiving feast. The Cavalier family has a 40-year tradition of eating nutria. What's nutria, you ask?
Nutria (n): Swamp rats, rodents upwards of 20 pounds that live in Southern marshes and rivers. They are vegetarian, so the meat is "lean."
"Today my husband and I, and our two boys, Damon and Destin, and my daughter Jessica, we're gonna go check the nutria traps out," Liz beams in the clip. "Fried nutria legs is mouthwatering. It's gonna be good."
2. Cranberries, no; crabs, yes.
"Normal family usually have a turkey, dressing, cranberry," says Liz. "In Cajun land where we live, all the things that we catch fresh on a daily basis, that's what we cook."
Things include shrimp and crab, mixed with onions and peppers, all of which are infinitely more appealing than nutria, right?
3. Forget the turkey. Hunt down the hog!
In this clip, Troy and Chase are armed and on the hunt for hogs. And this is not being different just to be different. The century-old bayou tradition of hog hunting began 100 years ago when the local turkey population was decimated. Pigs became the main entree for all major family holidays. Turkeys are no longer on the verge of extinction, but pigs are still No. 1 after all these years.
4. Coubion, not bouillon.
R.J. Molinere walks us through the process of preparing one of his favorite dishes, Redfish Coubion. "It's like a red tomato gravy and stuff," he says. "And I'll tell you what. That is really, really good."
And it's really, really not for the faint of heart. The best way to catch redfish, according to Molinere and family, is to go out at night with a bow and arrow. They don't just hunt at night to be dramatic; the redfish are mostly nocturnal. And night-fishing is a Molinere family tradition. That's why they have had time to perfect the weapons.
Check 'em out right here:
That line at the grocery store doesn't seem so daunting anymore, now, does it?