Clovis Crawfish and the Curious Crapaud

People sometimes ask me about my days as a small Cajun boy in South Louisiana. They seem to be under the impression that we rode alligators to school while wearing no shoes. That’s just about the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Of course we wore shoes. Alligators have pointy backs.

But seriously, we didn’t have alligators. We grew up in prairie country. We weren’t Swamp Cajuns, but rather Prairie Cajuns. True story: If I see my shadow in February, it’s six more weeks of winter.
Continue reading “Clovis Crawfish and the Curious Crapaud”

Things I’ve Eaten Today

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”

Squirrel Head Potpie

When a recipe starts by telling you to boil ten squirrel heads, you know you’re onto something good! I found this little gem in “Louisiana Cultural Vistas,” one of those fancy magazines they put in upscale hotel rooms in New Orleans. It’s actually an excellent damn mag judging by this particular issue. And the potpie recipe was tucked in an article about Mary Land, author of Louisiana Cookery and a woman light years ahead of her time — conservationist, serial marrier, hunter, fisher, cook.

Anyway, the recipe card reads:

Boil ten squirrel heads until tender in just enough water to cover. Make pie crust and line casserole. Place a layer of heads and some juice. Dot with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Make another layer of heads, juice and more pie crust strips. Cook in oven for one-half hour. (Serves six).

I sure as hell hope the recipe assumes you’ll take the meat off the skulls before putting it in the crust. Otherwise, that would be one huge (and crunchy) potpie.

Reality vs. Fiction in Grand Prairie

This weekend, I made a quick pass through the real Grand Prairie, Louisiana — as opposed to the alternate-reality one I created for The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. To be honest, I didn’t expect to find that much difference between the two. After all, the one is based on the other.

But I was wrong.
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Boudin, Baby. Boudin

Trust me on this one.
Trust me on this one.
Boudin. If you’re not from Louisiana, you probably haven’t had it and you probably can’t pronounce it. Boo-dan. But you have to cut about half of the n off of dan.

Sure, at first glance, a box of boudin may look like a carton full of soft-boiled geriatric, uh, weinies. But I promise you won’t put anything tastier in your mouth. (I’m talking about the boudin, you perv.) Continue reading “Boudin, Baby. Boudin”

Early Acclaim for the Novel: Part 4

TFAGPRF“You have to watch these Louisiana boys. They can drink you under the table, and some of them can write you under the table. Ken Wheaton can do both. He’s a wild one, and this is a sparkling debut.” — Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North

This particular blurb is 99.9% gold. (I’ll get to the 0.1% later.)
Continue reading “Early Acclaim for the Novel: Part 4”

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”