American Indians worshiped them as creators of the world, Napoleon ate them to celebrate his victories, Swedes have them shipped in from halfway around the world, and for Louisiana's Cajuns the humble crawfish is the centerpiece of cuisine, a symbol of ethnic pride, a staple commodity for thriving business ventures, and an inextricable part of folklore. Research and interviews spice this delightful book that details the relationship between crawfish and humans--from antiquity to the New York markets of the 1880s; from Depression-era pauper's feast to gourmet entree of the 1980s Cajun cooking craze; from spring afternoon pastime to modern aquaculture agribusiness. To get the reader's mouth watering, more than two dozen recipes from those who know crawfish best--both famous chefs and crawfishers--are interspersed throughout. Sections offer advice on catching, buying, handling, cooking, and, for those who wish to simplify their encounters with crawfish, ordering tasty dishes in restaurants. Included are also a bibliographical essay, an index to recipes, and a list of sources for spices, paraphernalia, and airfreight shipments of crawfish.