My Three Wishes

Like so many people out there, I feel overwhelmed. I’m so sorry about the state of affairs in our big, baggy, but ultimately still lovable old country right now. In my marrow I know that we are so much better than all this ugliness. I get that some people are just more comfortable staying out…

Great Depression Bouillie au Lait

In our house in Eunice, Louisiana, in the 1960s and ’70s, bouillie au lait (milk custard) was a comfort food. We pronounced it “B-yo-ly,” and sometimes ate it for breakfast or as an after-school snack. In Momma’s childhood home in Ville Platte during the Great Depression, bouillie au lait was survival food. It was affordable…

The Casserole Renaissance

The 1970s ushered in the era of convenience foods – think “Hamburger Helper” and taco-making kits (“Just add your own ground beef!”). It was also the heyday of the casserole – a dish with a wide (and forgiving) interpretation involving the combination of protein, fat, and starch in a rectangular baking dish (funnily enough, called…

Autumnal Optimism?

This past Monday, Labor Day, I sat at my dining room table and laptopped my way through the jobs boards to find appropriate positions to bookmark for the week. Then I spent a few hours customizing my cover letters for those positions; filled in a couple of those same organizations’ very time-absorbent application forms (Uggh!…

What Readers Are Saying About ‘Stone Motel’

My book Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy has gotten some very nice comments from readers. These remarks were made on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Facebook, and here on Parenthetically Speaking. (Some have been edited to exclude personal details of the writers, and/or for length.) I’ve compiled them here for easier…

Ortense’s Gateau aux Figues

In 1992 when I moved to New York from Louisiana I took my love of the food of my home state right into my East Village kitchen – where regularly I made jambalaya, étouffée, gumbo, fricassée, courtbouillon, and all the rest, like I’d never left Cajun Country. The key ingredients (or reasonable substitutes) for those dishes…

You Little Tart!

With ten mouths to feed, my daddy’s vegetable garden in Eunice, La. was an essential part of our family’s meal-plan. I remember those early years when he experimented with growing things – things that had a knack for producing an abundance of food – particularly tomatoes, eggplants, and zucchinis (not to mention cucumbers and bell…

The DIY Audiobook: Recording at Home in a Pandemic. Ugggh.

On April 15, the University Press of Mississippi released my new book “Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy.” To help launch it I had arranged a nearly three-week tour of Cajun Louisiana and New Orleans. The tour was to include appearances in bookstores, readings, book signings, media interviews, and a whole lot of travelling around…

That Dirty Cajun Rice Dressing Thing

Popeye’s calls this dish “Cajun Rice,” but I don’t know of any Cajuns who call it that. We either call it “Rice Dressing” or “Dirty Rice.” Whatever it’s called, it’s my absolute favorite side dish, and like many side dishes, it could easily serve as a main dish if you are so inclined. As a…

Pépère’s Courtbouillon Chicot

Chicot State Park near Ville Platte, Louisiana, a multifarious, 6,400-acre wildlife reserve, is the setting of one of my earliest cooking lessons. In addition to places to hike, swim, go fishing or boating, the park also features plenty of covered pavilions outfitted with big barbeque pits adjacent to them, as well as fire pits and…

Mémère’s Cafeteria-Lady Yeasty Rolls

Everybody’s baking on these long days during the pandemic. I’m no exception. I’ve been wanting to make another cake because I’m overdue for one, but I’ve also been craving my pépère (grandfather) DeJean’s catfish Courtbouillon (recipe coming soon to a blog post near you). This would then require me to bake my mémère’s Yeasty Rolls (and…

Here’s a snippet from my upcoming audiobook for “Stone Motel.”

The main recording work for the audiobook for “Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy” is done. There is some technical work to complete, but I am hopeful it will be ready some time in July. In the meantime, here is a snippet. Featured image: “Eliza’s Beauty Shop,” acrylic on canvas, by Morris Ardoin….

Un Petit Glossaire Cajun

The Cajun language is a mixture of ancient and modern French, some Franglais, as well as many words that are unique to the region of Louisiana where our Canadian ancestors originally settled. My new book, “Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy,” has lots of words and phrases whose meanings might prove a little…

‘Coonass Kandinsky’ Cornbread

Side dish or main course? The only correct answer is, “Both.” When my parents were kids during the Great Depression, cornbread was usually the main event – breakfast, lunch, or supper. Momma said she took cornbread to school for lunch pretty regularly. When it wasn’t cornbread, it was most likely Bouillie au Lait, another Depression…