We’ve landed in 1974, Baby!

My book “Stone Motel: Memoirs of a Cajun Boy” (University Press of Mississippi, Spring 2020) takes place in the early-to-mid-1970s. From the first pages, I give the reader a sense of place (a little roadside motel in Cajun Louisiana), and for context, a sense of time: This was all before widespread access to cable television,…

I’m a Coonass in Gotham, me.

When I moved to New York City from New Orleans in 1992 one of the first things I realized was that there are quite a few fellow Louisianans walking these streets, riding these subways, and having a blast, as I was. Turns out there were many first things I would need to realize – such…

Cakeover: Chocolate on Chocolate with a Smidge of Chocolate

The experience of eating an otherwise forgettable dinner in a fancy restaurant in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan was marred by the very memorable dessert they served: a chocolate cake that wasn’t trying to be anything else. SOOO many restaurants – especially fancy ones – try to pimp up what should already be standard fare:…

The ECOL Bard

In my senior year at LSU, I wrote this poem while sitting in my bullet-proof cashier’s booth at the ECOL filling station on College Drive in Baton Rouge. We sold only fuel, engine oil, cigarettes, and lighters. I had the brutal 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift. When my roommate Colleen discovered the poem in…

Quintessentially Cajun: Rice & Gravy

Momma and Daddy once had a dinner date with Alice and Roy LeDoux, who had a farm a couple miles from our motel, down the road going to Church Point. Momma and Daddy made a point to eat out about once every other month, but for the LeDouxs, this was a rare occurrence. When she…

How’s this for a book jacket blurb?

In April, when I converted my old newsletter (Parenthetically Speaking) into this blog, I announced that the University Press of Mississippi (UPM) will be publishing my memoir next year. At the time, the title of my book was “The Canasta Summers – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy.” This was the only title I’ve ever considered…

Cakeover: Beautiful Black & White Cake

C.A.K.E. It’s my favorite four-letter word. No matter the time of day, or the setting, or the circumstances, I never turn down cake. Even the lowliest, skankiest-looking 24-hour-convenience-store shelf cake (think Entenmann’s but without the ‘finesse’) has me squirming with glee. That said, I definitely gravitate towards the more substantive, authentic homemade cakes – those…

The Maid turns 100!

My Eunice Junior and then Senior High School chum Marc Andrepont passed this excellent article on to me this morning, so I figured you’d want to be in the know as well (these things are important!) Interesting tidbits of history about my family’s favorite white bread. M © All Rights Reserved

My First Crush: Ramada Man

I loved his long green coat, his black top hat, white gloves and matching stockings, and those red knickerbockers of his made me swoon. The 12-year-old me was so inspired by his golden waistcoat that I couldn’t wait to get one of my own. (The grownup me now has a collection of about 10 or…

A Toast to Toast!

If you know me, you already know about my love affair with toast. This romance started for me as a child in Louisiana. We had toast, not so much for breakfast – although occasionally it was part of breakfast (or it became French Toast) – but instead for after-school snacking, accompanied by coffee-milk (a glass…

Vacation

Mid July, circa 1966. Momma has just completed her top-secret negotiations with Daddy on what to do for a family vacation. They were wise enough to keep completely mum about their plans for this annual outing until the afternoon before we were to leave – just enough time to squeal, “WE’RE GOING TO THE BEACH!!!”…

Cakeover: Outrageous Orange

There isn’t a more summery flavor for cake than anything citrus. Luscious Lemon (always in season). Sublime Lime (so much slurpage factor in my Key Lime Cake – coming to a blog post near you). Pink Grapefruit (that’s going to be a doozy). And Outrageous Orange – which is my “cakeover” (cake-talk for “makeover”) recipe…

New Orleans: A fête for the nostrils

Whether I’m writing about the Cajun towns of my youth (Eunice and Ville Platte) or the cities I’ve lived in since (Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, Brussels, London, Warsaw, New York), I find that the best way to get to the true essence of a place is to describe how it smells. Exhibit A: New…