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…

This soup is addictive: Tom Yum with noodles.

I know it’s blazing out there lately, but this soup is full of crunchy veggies and healthy chicken – and is ethereally light, compared to many hearty soups more suited for winter. This particular dish is what you get when you add noodles to traditional Thai Tom Yum Soup. The idea for it came to…

Waltz of the Souls

Growing up, I wrote poetry long before I wrote prose. I don’t do it so much any more, but every now and then something happening in the world at large, or at small, inspires me to write a poem. This one came because of the tentative joy I felt when I became a full citizen…

Home in Cornwallville

Cornwallville, New York is a hamlet founded around 1788 within the town of Durham in the Catskills region of the state. There’s no grocery store, no stop light, no cafe, and no church (the one it did have was dismantled and re-mantled as part of the Cooperstown Farmers Museum to provide their visitors with some…

What’s in Your Closet?

At Christmastime and birthdays, Gilda had a knack for picking the best games for her presents. If someone else had, by sheer luck, asked for a game that turned out to be amazing, she found a way to acquire it. Accordingly, she wound up as the proprietor of Monopoly, Masterpiece, The Thing Machine, Freight Factory,…

On the Subway: ‘Woiking Goil’

Yesterday on the A train I gallantly resisted the urge to snarl at a phone-addled bimbette who obliviously bounced her ugly bag in my face as I was trying to read. Clearly, my spot in the upper levels of heaven is now duly secured. The incident reminds me of a piece I first wrote about…