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
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 a “casserole.”) Usually held together with noodles of some sort, … Continue reading The Casserole Renaissance
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! They’re already getting my resume!); and reworked each of the … Continue reading Autumnal Optimism?
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 access. There are also several nice newspaper and magazine articles … Continue reading What Readers Are Saying About ‘Stone Motel’
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 are available pretty much anywhere. But there was one thing … Continue reading Ortense’s Gateau aux Figues
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 peppers). For the first few summers he’d produce entire mountain … Continue reading You Little Tart!
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 in a rental car. I had also managed to cram … Continue reading The DIY Audiobook: Recording at Home in a Pandemic. Ugggh.
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
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 picnic tables right out in the open. I was a … Continue reading Pépère’s Courtbouillon Chicot
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 everybody knows you can’t have Courtbouillon without yeasty rolls)! Ask … Continue reading Mémère’s Cafeteria-Lady Yeasty Rolls
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. Video intro music by Isadar. (www.isadar.com) C’est tout! M © … Continue reading Here’s a snippet from my upcoming audiobook for “Stone Motel.”
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
I’m just warming up – these first five videos – each a reading from my new book, “Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy,” are only the beginning. I plan to add videos to accompany the recipes I feature here on in (Parenthetically Speaking). To subscribe, click on the logo above and you won’t miss a thing! C’est tout! M © All Rights Reserved … Continue reading Video Ya-ya! Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for all Stone Motel readings.
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 staple in Cajun Louisiana. I made this cornbread recipe as … Continue reading ‘Coonass Kandinsky’ Cornbread
I read from the final chapter of my book. Spoiler alert: In this chapter we walk through the house at the Stone Motel, after a 30-year occupancy by the Ardoin family. You may wish to hold off on seeing this video until you’ve finished the book. Continue reading New Reading: Popeye’s in the Oven