• Kaitlynn Stone

The Perfect Low Country Boil Birthday Celebration

My birthday fell on a Saturday this year, so we obviously had to pull out all of the stops. How often do the stars align so that your special day lands on the most cherished day of the weekend? I knew what I wanted to do months before August, and that was to host a classic, southern, low country boil—complete with juicy crab legs and pounds of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes.

I've always seen it done on tv shows, where everyone is gathered around picnic tables that have been lined with newspaper as they sip their sweet tea and crack open crab legs, discarding the shells on the paper in front of them. There's something so appealing about putting in work and getting a little dirty for your food. It just seemed like a fun, humbling family experience.

The week before the party, my mom went nuts on Amazon, ordering everything from tablecloths to paper plates, utensils and even those cute little corn on the cob holders. We couldn't have been more prepared. The day of the party, her and my grandma made a Costco and Wegmans run to get the rest of the food and supplies we would need for the day. After bringing a couple of folding tables from the basement up and moving a few benches outside, we began to dress the scene.

We began by lining the tables with a fun checkered tablecloth and using silverware buckets and crab crackers to weigh it down. There was a nice breeze that morning so we wanted to make sure they stayed on while we prepped the food inside. My mom has a ton of cute serving dishes and found a few that went with the theme like the crab above.

Joe brought the tv outside for the day and prepped the outdoor cooler with ice before layering the inside with several cases of beer (Aslin of course), wine, waters and juice. They even got me a balloon ensemble with a large lobster and smaller red happy birthday balloons. The lobster would soon be known as Roman, but we'll get to that a little later on.

Inside, grandma had just began preparing her coleslaw, while my mom began making german chocolate cupcakes, my papa's favorite. His birthday was just before mine on the 25th and we decided to celebrate it while we were all together as well. There wasn't a whole lot of food prep that needed to be done in advance considering most of the big items would be boiled together in our family friend's giant steamer pot.

As 2pm inched closer, we decided to take the aprons off and start getting ready for the party which was scheduled to kick off around 3pm. We figured an afternoon/evening event would be best to dodge the August heat. Luckily that day wasn't terribly hot or humid, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

The next hour was just a waiting game for us. The mail had brought me some packages I ordered from Poshmark, which I've been obsessed with lately. If you haven't heard of it, it's a second hand online thrift store for clothes, makeup, jewelry and home goods. I've found a ton of cute clothes there including the skirt I wore for the party.

After tearing into the goods, I decided it was time to officially start the party and decided to split an Aslin beer with Joe. At this point, everyone had their drink of choice and decided to hang out outside around the tv, waiting for our friends to arrive. It was also at this point that mom and I lined the clothed tables with paper lining that would serve as our "newspapers" and help with the mess.

Around 2:30pm, my mom's childhood friend, Kristen, and her boyfriend Sam showed up with the boiler and started to set up in the backyard. Shortly afterwards, our other family friends, Dottie and David, along with their two kids, Maddie (13) and Marley (6) showed up and brought with them smiles and the best energy ever. Love those people, man. Once they arrived and were settled in with drinks in hand, we decided to start cooking and Sam went to work.

To my understanding, there is a very specific order to cooking everything in one pot and it goes as follows: potatoes at the bottom, followed by corn cobs (sliced in half) topped with unpeeled shrimp, old bay and finally—the crab legs on top. I was absolutely amazed that everything was able to fit in one large pot. I could smell the food cooking and was instantly transported to the coast. When everything was cooked through, the result was absolutely mouth watering. Everything came out perfectly cooked, from the soft potatoes and steaming corn to the now pink shrimp and thick crab legs.

It didn't take long for everyone to grab their restaurant style paper plates and charge the table, filling up on everything there was to offer. After filling up my plate, I took a seat on the bench and began picking. Everyone else took their seats and followed suit, all while sharing stories laughing and not giving a damn about the fact that our hands were now a buttery mess. It was absolutely perfect in every sense of the word.

It was around this time that my bestfriend Jessie and her fiance Chris arrived with their two dogs in stow, Reo and Ellie. They were let loose in the backyard and had a blast running up and down the yard with Sam and Kristens' french bulldog Everett. They helped themselves to a plate and I grabbed them some drinks as we sat down and caught up.

Jessie had brought me a birthday pin and hat so of course I put them on while we hung out in the backyard before heading inside for cake and presents. My cake was an icecream cake of course and papa had his cupcakes, both sporting a number of brightly colored, lit candles. Happy Birthday was sung and we blew out our candles, thanking everyone for being apart of our celebration event.

As far as birthday parties go, I haven't had too many. I usually don't like making a big deal out of my birthday, because I feel awkward being the center of attention. This day was different though. I felt so much love and joy around me, there was simply no way to feel egotistical (which is like my worst fear). It was the best celebration I've had in all of my 26 years, and that includes birthday 6 with the massive pinata and all of my Chuck E Cheese birthdays combined.

I love my friends and family so much and am so excited for what this year will bring. Cheers to 26!

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