Smiley: King cake monster

Terri Karam Willett says years ago she got a king cake recipe from her sister Kelli, an expert baker.

All went well until the dough started to rise:

“It ran over the bowl and onto the counter! I punched it down and thought, ‘Hmm, that was some pretty powerful yeast.’

“I rolled out the dough, filled it and placed it on the baking sheet for the second rise.

“When I looked again, it was MONSTROUS! But I had spent all day shopping and mixing and kneading and rolling. So into the oven it went.

“A few minutes later, I turned on the oven light and I SWEAR THE THING WAS A BREATHING, STEAMY MONSTER!

“The cake filled the oven from side to side! It would rise up, steam would escape and the whole thing would just shudder and sink.

“It was so unbelievable I had to call my neighbors over to see this thing. It was like watching a funny horror movie in my oven.

“Anyhow, I baked, and baked, and baked, but had to take it out before the outside burned.

“It took two of us to get the pan out of the oven. NO LIE!

“Parts of it were still doughy, but I iced it and brought it to work the next day.

“Needless to say, my staff had many great laughs at my expense! (The edible parts were quite good, I might add.)

“I called Kelli and asked her what I did wrong.

“Her reply was, ‘Terri, that was enough dough for three king cakes! Didn’t I tell you that?”

“ ‘Hell no!’ was my response.

“We still laugh about it. …”

Close call

Several readers (two is several, right?) want to know how I did with my Fearless Football Forecast for the LSU Tigers, made back in August.

Turns out I was a bit optimistic, but was wrong about only one regular-season game, the one with Ole Miss.

I correctly called the losses to Georgia and Alabama.

And while I said the Rebels (or Bears, whatever) would “give our lads all they can handle, and then some,” I had the Tigers winning on a last-second field goal. Which, of course, didn’t happen.

I figured a two-loss LSU team would make the Sugar Bowl, beating Notre Dame.

Instead the three-loss Tigers beat Iowa in the Bloomin’ Onion Bowl — avoiding a return trip to the dreaded Chicken Sandwich Bowl.

All in all, it wasn’t too shabby a performance for a guy who reads only one issue of Sports Illustrated a year.

You probably can guess which one that is. …

Faking it

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says this about a “Blondie” comic strip, showing a waiter with a French accent who drops it in the kitchen when he gives the chef the order:

“Several years ago a friend from Louisiana was visiting Nashville with us and we went to a French restaurant.

“The waiter did the same thing as the one in the comic strip.

“Our friend, who grew up in Pierre Part where French was her first language, started speaking French to the waiter.

“He was very red-faced as he apologized and admitted he spoke no French.”

Cleaning up

Arthur Matherne says, “Reading about the EMS guys picking up cardboard in the street (in the Wednesday, Jan. 15, column) brings to mind an experience I had last week.

“On a venture to Houma, I was followed by a Troop C state trooper in the area of Schriever.

“When he put his flashing lights on, I was wondering if he was stopping me.

“He stopped and picked up a piece of wood on the highway, to my amazement.

“Thank you for a good job, trooper.”

Nostalgia Corner

Hilda Guedry recalls evenings in years past:

“A group of friends who loved to dance would go to the American Legion Hall on Florida, which had the best dance floor in Baton Rouge and good bands — Buddy Boudreaux and Ovide Leonard. The hall had a huge silver ball on the ceiling.

“When the dance was over, we would go to the Toddle House on 648 Florida for good coffee and the best chocolate pie.

“After that we would go wait for the ferry to bring us across the river to Port Allen.”

Elizabeth Ryan says our nostalgic readers who told of Baton Rouge drive-ins of yesteryear didn’t mention Alessi’s on Florida at North Foster, where her brother worked.

It was known as the home of Baton Rouge’s best curly-ques.

Special People Dept.

Wes Constantin celebrates his 90th birthday on Thursday, Jan. 16.

What winter wonderland?

At a luncheon at Frank’s with members of my Istrouma High class (never mind what year), class President Carroll DiBenedetto read a letter from a classmate in South Dakota telling a horror story about getting snowed in — in October — without power or heat.

This reminded Roy Moran of a guy from North Dakota he knew, who explained how he wound up down here.

He told Roy: “I put my snow shovel on top of my car and drove south until somebody asked me, ‘What’s that thing?’ ”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.