T’ante Versie’s Maque Choux

Thanksgiving week, y’all! I don’t love Thanksgiving turkey so much, but I love the side dishes. This side is my second fave (after Rice Dressing) and I like to use a recipe I developed from a childhood memory of my Aunt Versie’s version. In hers, the corn was more crumbly than other recipes I’ve tried, which end up a bit wet. Aunt Versie’s was crumbly … Continue reading T’ante Versie’s Maque Choux

For the Love of Gratin

A few years ago Aubyn and I, along with Moby, our wonderful (now sadly-departed) pooch, drove from New York City to the coast of South Carolina, to board a ferry to Daufuskie, a sparsely-inhabited island about half-hour by ferry from the mainland. Daufuskie is where Aubyn’s half-sister lived at the time with her husband. The occasion was a Gwinn family reunion of sorts. I say … Continue reading For the Love of Gratin

‘Twas the night before New Year’s

Family customs, especially those based on folklore, are a lot like recipes – they change bit by bit over the years as they’re passed down. In my family Momma brought the New Year’s Eve custom of “Jabless” (pronounced “Jah-bless”) to us, as her mother, our mémère, had done for her children. Here’s how the Jabless custom goes: On New Year’s Eve, the children put out a … Continue reading ‘Twas the night before New Year’s

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 for poor families like theirs because it required only three … Continue reading Great Depression Bouillie au Lait

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 main, I would pair it with steamed asparagus, sautéed Brussels … Continue reading That Dirty Cajun Rice Dressing Thing

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 challenging for non-Cajuns. This very selective glossary includes terms I … Continue reading Un Petit Glossaire Cajun