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When I was a kid, going out to eat was a special event for our family.  The very phrase "going out to eat" held other-worldly qualities.  That's because, back in the day, it was a rare occurrence.  It was not the non-event that it is now when most of us eat out more than in.

And on really extra special occasions, my parents let me order mystical, magical fried shrimp!  I knew I was getting the royal treatment, because fried shrimp was often the most expensive thing on the menu, due largely to the fact that we were in Abilene, Texas, which is not exactly close to the ocean. To this day, there's no better delicacy to me than shrimp, any way you can whip it up. Just like Bubba in Forrest Gump, to me shrimp is the "fruit of the sea".

They say you learn something new every day, and just yesterday I learned that there are a number of different kinds of shrimp that we eat.  I just always assumed there were big shrimp and little shrimp; that basically shrimp was shrimp.

But, no.  There are many different types of shrimp, as I discovered while reading an article on Oceana.org.  Knowing these may ensure that you're not being duped the next time you order a shrimp cocktail at your favorite restaurant.

For example, farmed Whiteleg Shrimp is the most common type of farmed shrimp. Restaurants often use this shrimp in their cocktails, when on the menu it may say Gulf shrimp cocktail, Bronzed Carolina shrimp, or popcorn shrimp.  Then there's Banded Coral Shrimp, Royal Red Shrimp, Blue Shrimp, Ocean Shrimp, and Giant Tiger Prawns.

The most common shrimp found in the Gulf Of Mexico--and therefore most often makinig their way to your dinner plate--are Brown, White, and Pink shrimp.  These are commonly known as "Gulf Shrimp".

Pink Shrimp are the largest of Gulf Shrimp varieties and they have a mild, sweet flavor which makes them great for dishes with delicate sauces.

Brown Shrimp have a stronger flavor which makes them great for gumbo and jambalaya.

White Shrimp are another mild-tasting shrimp that are great for boiling and sauteing.

The outlook for the Brown Shrimp harvest in the Gulf this year is promising.
According to the Louisiana Radio Network, NOAA's annual forecast predicts a yield of 44.2 million pounds which is up over the last two years.  The prediction encompasses the period from July 2017 through June 2018 for state and federal waters off Louisiana and federal waters off Texas.

Now all this talk of shrimp has me craving a big plate of fried shrimp.  Ralph & Kacoo's anyone?