Tuesday, November 3, 2009

South Louisiana will feed feed feed you . . .















While in Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Book Festival, I did not for moment go hungry . . .
Go to South Louisiana and you will be fed, you will be fed often, and you will be fed cheerfully. They think if you are not living in South Louisiana, you are starving, you are lacking in what is known as "good eating." Go to South Louisiana and be prepared to taste—taste the spice (which is not only pepper and cayenne and Tabasco as some “not Louisiana” restaurants seem to think, but the spices, the heat, the eclectic mix of spice and imagination), the gulf shrimp, the oysters, the crawfish, the catfish, the boiling frying grilling blackening, the jambalaya, the gumbo, the etoufee, community coffee, bread pudding, George's, Louie's, Don's, Hymels (which is part grocery, part bar, part gas station), Mike Anderson's and Ralph & Kacoos been there forever restaurants, the bait stores that are also groceries with cheeses and wines and Stage Plank gingerbread, french bread, po'boys—even hamburger po’boys . . . yes, they will feed you.


Don't say "Well, I'm a Flexetarian. I’ve just about given up meat . . ." Say that in South Louisiana? Ha! You will be told you must have meat for protein! You will find meat on your plate. They don't see it as meat—South Louisianians see it is Needed, a Requirement. I do not eat pork, and this causes the raised-up eyebrows. No bacon? Nope, no bacon. No hamhocks? Nope. No sausage? No no no! Step into a restaurant in South Louisiana and you may not find a vegetable on the menu, unless it is cooked with fatback or saltpork or a big hunk of poor little petal puss the pig.


Some restaurants fry fry and more fry, everything on the menu is fried, even dessert. Oh, but if you indulge as you will indulge because everyone is saying "Eat eat eat! eat eat eat! eat eat eat!" then you will never go back to plain ole fried food again—did I say Spice is King in South Louisiana? And even the smallest most awkward looking eatery knows how to cook with those spices, and knows how to fry.

Don't you Dare go to certain chain seafood restaurants that boast a big ass lobster on their sign; no no, not in South Louisiana, although you mayfind them occupied down there anyway by tourists who do not know better; however, for sale signs abound in chain seafood restaurants; oh, but I'm sure even those chain Scred Bropster type places put the South Louisiana touch on their food.


Go to South Louisiana and they will feed you, then after you are so full you can only pat your tummy and say "Please, no more! no more!" (I actually got tired of eating! I actually got sick of food! Imagine!) then they will take you around and show you their Place. Don't go in June, July, August, September unless you are used to 150% humidity and near-100 degree heat—the combination that leaves one wilted and a bit sick to one's stomach. You only THINK you know how hot it is; you only THINK you know what heat and humidity is; you will KNOW it once you spend a summer's day in South Louisiana. Here's a way to know how if feels: go to your local gym and step inside the sauna turned up high; sit there for an hour and when you come out drenched in sweat, about to puke from the heat, well, that's a South Louisiana summer you step out into. So, when you go, in the spring (which can still be quite hot) they will show your full-stomached self around. They will say—

see our grandfather oaks? their branches touch the ground, the moss blows in the warm breeze. see our cypress and cypress knees? see Louisiana State University and the Fighting LSU Tigers and their Golden Girls and the Marching Band, the white pelicans that come in winter, the brown pelican that is the state bird—Louisiana-the Pelican State. see Huey Long's phallic symbol (okay, I call it that, chances are your guide will not say that . . . they will call it the Baton Rouge State Capitol Building). see the unique architecture? the swamps? the gator? the white croaked-calling egrets? the stately blue heron? see the mardi gras beads still hanging from the trees and wires? see the church, see the steeple, open it up and see all the diversified people.

Go to South Louisiana and they will feed you, not just food, but feed your soul and your eyes and your spirits. It’s a place like no other, that I can guarantee you.


FOR THOSE WHO ARE ASKING WHAT A POBOY IS: That photo above of the sandwich with the fried shrimp spilling out of it is a poboy. You can make a poboy out of any kind of meat or food- but you need the right bread - good french bread - where it's kind of soft and fluffy on the inside, but crispy on the outside, so you bit into it and it crunches but doens't fall all apart or break apart. You can have it "dressed" or not dressed - dressed means like having tomato and lettuce on it versus not having L&T on it - if I say I want it "dressed" - I know it'll have everything on it - lettuce tomato, mayo, maybe onion in some instances....

(google image from: www.poboyexpress.com)

16 comments:

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, now I'm adding South Louisiana to my TBV list. Can't wait for retirement when hubby and I can visit all these wonderful places.

Susan R. Mills said...

It sounds like my kind of place, considering how much I love to eat!

Char said...

Now I'm hungry. I do love me some spicy food. I haven't been there for many years, but this post makes me want to go visit again.

Diane said...

That looks like a 5 pound gain trip. Blessings to your new baby. :O)

Diane said...

That looks like a 5 pound gain trip. Blessings to your new baby. :O)

Marguerite said...

Couldn't have said it better, myself! Great post!

A Year on the Grill said...

I love that area, and everything about the cooking is fabulous,

they really know haow to do it right, glad you had such excellent hosts, advice and great time

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I would love to visit there someday. Maybe not in the summer :) Okay, now I have to go rifle through the fridge - all of a sudden a salad lunch doesn't sound like it's going to cut it!!!!

Rick said...

After reading you're post, I'm seriously hungry!

Karen said...

Man, you did it again! I'm dying for those po-boys! The culture and food and people are lively, colorful and wonderful. (I was born in NuOrleans.) Know you had fun! Good times, huh, grandma!

Judith Mercado said...

Is their motto Food = Love? Sure sounds like it.

Titus said...

Brilliant post! Never had much yen to visit the USA so far in my life, but blogging is changing things.
I felt like I was there: I want to be there.

And please, what is a po'boy?

Sheila Deeth said...

Fun to enjoy a virtual visit, and virtual food. I suspect my gluten intolerance might not go over as well there as here in Portland.

Sandra Leigh said...

Yeah, Kat - What's a Po' Boy? Inquiring northern minds want to know. While I wait for your answer, I'm going to the kitchen to get a snack. For some reason, I'm suddenly starved. ;>)

Debra said...

This post left me feeling a little homesick! New Orleans girl that I am! Blessings!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

LOVE IT! Ecept for the driving! HA! I will put that pot of Gumbo I made Saturday up against any Cajun's anytime, anywhere! It was the best I've ever put in my mouth including the past pots i've made!!