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

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

‘Coonass Kandinsky’ Cornbread

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

Cakeover! Glorious Pink Grapefruit Cake

You may have heard by now that I’m in the midst of promoting my book, so I’ve been a bit negligent of my food-making blog entries. Well, today I’m rectifying that (if only temporarily) with the newest recipe: My Glorious Pink Grapefruit Cake! The inspiration for this cake comes from those lemon and lime cakes in the 1970s – the period I write about in … Continue reading Cakeover! Glorious Pink Grapefruit Cake

World Collapsing? Assemble (no actual baking skills required) a Pear Cobbler!

Okay – so the grocery store shelves are skimpy or even empty, and now you’re gonna have to make do with things you (should already) have in your pantry. This is how we survive a plague (of virus, ignorance, overreaction, government ineptitude, and/or bad manners). The photo below shows the only things you’ll need to make a pretty decent knockoff of a proper cobbler. Preheat … Continue reading World Collapsing? Assemble (no actual baking skills required) a Pear Cobbler!

Simple & Satisfying: Sautéed Cabbage With Sausage

Having grown up with lots of people always around, all the time (my parents had nine children) – in a food-crazy state like Louisiana, it seems there also always was a correlating abundance of sustenance at our house. Ten-gallon stock-pots filled with gumbo were the norm. We had a 16-cup rice-cooker going nonstop, it seemed, to keep up with the steady supply of rice we … Continue reading Simple & Satisfying: Sautéed Cabbage With Sausage

Meatball Fricassee

Everybody knows about gumbo. It’s the quintessential Louisiana dish. And for all kinds of good reasons. It’s served in homes and restaurants all over the Bayou State (and in many other states – which tend to muck it up with unorthodox methods so as not to scare away their loyal customers). Gumbo is what most often comes to mind when outsiders think of Louisiana food. … Continue reading Meatball Fricassee

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) Seafood Gumbo. I think seafood gumbo was Momma’s best dish … Continue reading Rouxvana: Eliza Mae’s Seafood Gumbo

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: simple chocolate cake that tastes like chocolate and that doesn’t … Continue reading Cakeover: Chocolate on Chocolate with a Smidge of Chocolate

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 my stuff (it was scribbled on the inside of a … Continue reading Poetry at the Filling Station

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 that our mommas and mémères and tantes made. I also … Continue reading Cakeover: Beautiful Black & White Cake

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 half-filled with coffee and the other half milk). We usually … Continue reading A Toast to Toast!