Breakfast this morning was a smoked sausage and egg biscuit at Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue. In the Memphis airport. Now, of course, you’re thinking, “Airport. Doesn’t count.” Well, let me tell you. Jim Neely his own damn self was in there checking on things, holding court with customers about the Food Network, barbecue, running restaurants and his nephew. Good enough for me. Continue reading “Things I’ve Eaten Today”
The First Annual Bodacious Basinkeepers BBQ
No. I did not change the name of my novel from The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival to The First Annual Bodacious Basinkeepers BBQ. Rather, in a weird bit of coincidence, my good friend Toby Dore–the guy who set up the Facebook Group for my book–is actually part of a gang of guys trying to get their own first festival off the ground. The Basin Cleanup and BBQ will be held Sept. 26 from 6 to 12 p.m. at Whiskey River Landing.
Like I said to Toby, I wish he’d have told me about this. I could have used him for a little research instead of just making up all the details in my book!
I fully expect those of you who live in the area to get out there and go check this out. Invite your friends. Spread the Facebook group around. Go, man. Go.
And for those who don’t live in the area? Well, come a little closer. Let me talk to you about Louisiana festivals.
Continue reading “The First Annual Bodacious Basinkeepers BBQ”
I Am Not Cajun Boy
This will make sense only to those of you who read Gawker, but after repeated queries I figured I’d just make it clear here. I am not the Gawker blogger known as Cajun Boy (aka the former commenter known as Cajun Boy in the City).
I read Gawker every day. They’re kind enough to link to my work stuff from time to time and they’ve gently mocked me in the past. But I don’t write for them. Even if I wouldn’t be fired for doing so, I don’t have the energy to contribute and, compared to their regular writers, I’m practically Newt Gingrich when it comes to politics. I’m also entirely too egotistical to write for any site and NOT use my real name. After all, I have a novel coming out in December. (The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival’s official release date is Dec. 29.)
I know nothing about Cajun Boy other than he nabbed a great name. He seems like a nice enough guy and has his own blog, too.
Anyway, just figured I’d let you all know.
It’s a Family Tradition
Why are my uncles and cousins drunkenly wrasslin’ over a pineapple, I found myself thinking not very long ago. And why is my other cousin dancing with a mop while standing in a laundry basket?
Most of my family lives in South Louisiana and they’re Cajun through and through. Even when the crew from Ville Platte invades Face Book en masse, as they’ve been doing in the last couple of months, they bring their style to social media.
Continue reading “It’s a Family Tradition”
New York Times Discovers ‘Real’ Cajun
Thanks to another fellow Cajun with a not-so Cajun name, Donald Link, The New York Times clues its readers in to the fact that not only is there no decent Cajun food outside of South Louisiana*, but there’s not much of it in New Orleans. Two things of note: 1) Donald Link has his own sausage closet. 2) Note to New York Times: You’d have more credibility when discussing Louisiana food if you spelled crawfish correctly (as it’s pronounced) rather than as crayfish. (Though it’s cute when you pig-headedly hold on to your own style guide rather than AP Style.)
*Except in my kitchen.
Red Beans and Rice (are kicking)
This weekend, I went over to my former roommate’s home to try to teach him to make Red Beans and Rice. Why? Because it’s tasty, cheap and one of the easier things to cook. Even better, this is one dish that you don’t need all sorts of fancy Cajun ingredients. (That said, replacing or supplementing the ham with smoked pork Cajun sausage will make the dish taste better.) Recipe after the jump.
Bread Puddin’ and Jack Daniels Sauce
I don’t make a lot of desserts. Baking, for the most part, is too precise for my style of cooking. Perhaps one day when I move into an apartment with a kitchen that has ample counter space and … ah, who am I kidding. All that measuring and math isn’t for me. Until recently, my best attempt at dessert was “pudding pie” (mix up some instant pudding, slap it in a pre-made pie shell and cover with Cool Whip–now that’s good eats!).
Anyway, I’ve learned how to make Bread Pudding, something I don’t think I ever ate until I was well beyond 25. I’m still futzing with this recipe, which I’ve cobbled together from a few sources.
More Squirrel Goodness
Big week for squirrel and squirrel-flavored products. Walkers Crisps (that’s chips to Americans), as part of its Do Us a Flavour (that’s Flavor to Americans), has included a Cajun Squirrel flavor. MMMMMMmm. MM. Good eats.
According to the bloke what came up with the flavor, “This gentle Cajun flavouring will be delicious for the public and although the idea might sound bizarre, it really works. No squirrels were harmed in the making of these crisps!”
Ken’s Crawfish Etouffee
In the comments on the gumbo recipe, Caro asked about crawfish. Crawfish is almost always the first thing to come up in a discussion with non-Cajuns about Cajun food — unless it’s Thanksgiving, when the talk turns to Turduckens or Deep-fried turkey.
Let me say first that Crawfish Etouffee has little to do with crawfish boils–in which people stand around in the backyard drinking beer and getting their hands messy cracking those little buggers open and eating all the tail meat. Unless you have an outdoor space, the proper equipment and access to live crawfish, you can just forget about boiled crawfish. It’s only good fresh. And though you can get live crawfish delivered in season (generally February through June), it’s ridiculously expensive. And take it from someone who boiled crawfish in a New York City apartment — just don’t. The horrible ditch-water smell will be with you for weeks and stray cats will come from miles around to investigate. At any rate, if you want the great taste of crawfish, go with etouffee. (Ay — too — fay)
Snow Falls on Louisiana
So at 6:45 this morning, my phone rings. “Someone’s dead,” is my first thought. But it only rang once, meaning it was a text. “Some fool’s sending me a direct message through Twitter,” was my second guess. Then it happened again. “Surely I’m not that popular on Twitter (yet).” So I dragged my ass out of bed — did you know that I don’t have to be at work until 10, so usually don’t wake until 8:45? — and checked my phone. Picture mail from my mom. And from my stepdad. And a text from my brother. “It’s snowing!”
So here you see a wee little picture of my mom’s house all covered in snow. I also received emails from my son, in Prairieville. They’ve got two inches (he says) and it’s still coming down. To which I replied: “What are you doing inside on the computer. Go out and play in the snow.” I also added some snow-ball making tips so that he can put someone’s eye out.
I’d say it snows about once every ten years in South Louisiana. This is the second time in four years. And this looks like the real deal–unlike the quarter inch of sleet and frozen rain that counted as my first snowfall.
Meanwhile, it’s raining here in New York.