Rouxvana: Eliza Mae’s Seafood Gumbo

Today the temperature dropped quickly here in Manhattan, and I hear that the Coonasses down home in Louisiana are also experiencing a cold snap. Which can only mean one thing for them and me: Gumbo. So today I’m channeling all those fine Coonasses down there to write this blog post on Eliza Mae’s (my long-departed momma’s)…

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:…

Poetry at the Filling Station

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…

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

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…

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…

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…

Don’t call me “foodie.”

It’s true: I love food (some of my best friends eat it) and love to cook (unless it’s done under duress), and love trying new restaurants, and new items at old restaurants, and all that jazz, but the term “foodie” irks me. I know it’s a handy shortcut of a description, but to me, it…

Mildred’s Biscuits

When she was in beauty school, and later, after she had opened her beauty shop on Vine Street in our home town of Eunice, Louisiana, Momma called on Mildred Williams quite often – to babysit us little ones, cook, clean, and do things that needed doing in the house. Some of us became so attached…

There’s gonna be a book!

Yep! After a lot of back and forth, it looks like my book, Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy, will be published in 2020. No firm date yet, but according to the University Press of Mississippi, the process (which just began in earnest in late April – after I submitted my final, revised…