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
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
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
Starting a new year is always a great time to focus on the basics. In this post, I zero in on the needlessly intimidating process of roux-making. For the next post, I will share my recipe for the very best dish on Planet Earth – using this roux – Spoiler: it’s not gumbo. Hurricane’s coming – better make a roux! Tomorrow’s Christmas – better make … Continue reading First, I made a roux.
This week I’m running this post about the game of Canasta once more (originally posted in May 2019). It’s a bit wonky to read but if you take it slow, you should be able to set up a rousing game for yourself and at least three others. Christmas break is the perfect time to unplug from our phones, tvs, and whatnots, and, you know, face … Continue reading Canasta’s Trip to the Bayou
Since it became available for pre-order, several people have purchased my upcoming book, “Stone Motel – Memoirs of a Cajun Boy” (expected delivery April 2020 from the University Press of Mississippi). To be quite uncharacteristically sincere about it, I am humbled and grateful, and more than a bit fixed in a state of suspended belief. Part of the writing experience necessarily includes the selling experience. … Continue reading Where to pre-order “Stone Motel”???
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
This isn’t really a “Cakeover” story per se (where I take a vintage recipe from the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s and update it). No, this recipe is the original, as submitted to me by my old home-state friend (and peer reviewer* for my upcoming book) Valerie Andrews. Valerie was reminded of this recipe from her grandmother Josephine, when she read my post on Watergate Cake … Continue reading Cakeover: Josephine Gonzales Andrews’ Church Lady Cajun Cake
Eunice native Jere Longman, writing for today’s edition of The New York Times, on the tumultuous late 1960s to early 1970s and beyond. He beautifully captures the electricity of a period when our home city was in the throes of transition. Continue reading Sunday Times: Dispatch from Eunice, La. on a Piece of its Desegregation History
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
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 for this book because the story covers a period of … Continue reading How’s this for a book jacket blurb?
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 Continue reading The Maid turns 100!
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 so in various colors, textures, and patterns – including one … Continue reading My First Crush: Ramada Man
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!
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 Orleans. To be sure, the sights, sounds, and tastes are … Continue reading New Orleans: A fête for the nostrils