Recently, I was listening to Colin Cowherd’s ESPN radio show, and he got off on a macho kick and started listing things “real men” wouldn’t do — apologize, maybe cry and some others — including swap recipes.
Colin, a West Coast guy working on the East Coast, evidently doesn’t know that in south Louisiana, recipes are routinely exchanged by some of the manliest guys on the planet.
Go into just about any bar around here, and after the subject “How ’bout them Tigers?” has been exhausted, talk will invariably turn to such topics as jambalaya vs. pastalaya, homemade roux vs. roux in a jar, the best mixture for injecting a turke y or pork roast, etc.
I guarantee that the guys at any southwest Louisiana duck camp eat better than the diners in most Manhattan restaurants.
Years ago, I went to a Pecan Island duck camp with some New Roads guys — who took me along in spite of my remark, “Hey, ain’t no duck ever done anything to me!”
Early that morning, after our self-appointed cook had served our biscuits, bacon and eggs, he started a lunch dish he said would be ready when we got back from the hunt.
Into a big cast iron pot, he stuffed an ungodly amount of chopped onions, a large hen and a whole jar of Savoie’s roux. That was it.
He covered the pot and left it simmering on the stove as we headed into the marsh.
When we returned a few hours later, he made a pot of rice and dished up the richest, tastiest chicken fricassee I’ve ever had.
I may not have killed a duck, but I made short work of that hen …
Sixteen years ago, I started getting little notes scrawled on yellow, lined paper from a guy named Mel Prust:
“Never eat at a restaurant that lists Tagamet under appetizers.”
“An Aggie wrote his mother that during his first eight months at Texas A&M he’d grown another foot. She was so proud she sent him three socks.”
Over the years, I ran more than 400 of Mel’s little quips.
I met him when son Daryel got us together at the Pastime for po-boys and root beer, and found him a delightful, very witty guy.
I heard from Daryel earlier this year that his dad was in decline, and this weekend, I learned that my most faithful contributor had sent in his last quip.
Here are his last two, sent me in July. I think Mel would want you to remember him as I always will — with a smile:
“It’s a good thing men don’t have to go through childbirth — otherwise, Cain and Abel would have been just about it.”
“Eat a toad for breakfast, and nothing worse can happen to you all day.”
I like to read about all the live theater in this part of the state. Just about any evening you can go out to see a play performed on a stage with real people.
Then there’s the granddaddy of them all, Baton Rouge Little Theater, which has been around since 1946.
I’ve been enjoying BRLT plays since they were put on in an old barn-like structure at Harding Field, now Baton Rouge Metro Airport.
And maybe the most fun I’ve had at a Little Theater performance was last week, at “Always … Patsy Cline.”
It featured a fine singer, Alaina Ellen Richard, in the title role and a show-stealing comic performance by Charlynn White as the Houston lady who befriended a lonely Patsy one magical night.
With a country-flavored band led by Terry “Joe Bob” Byars; songs by writers from Willie Nelson to Cole Porter, Neil Sedaka to Bob Wills, plus whooping and hollering by a lively audience, it had the energy of an old-time hoe-down.
It runs through Sunday. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Eastside Lemonators says Relay for Life, to fight cancer, benefits from a donation from Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Restaurant on Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Mestizo will donate 10 percent of Tuesday’s sales to Relay for Life when a flyer is presented. Visit http://www.facebook.com/firstaidlemonade to copy the flier, or get one there.
To donate to Relay for Life, go to http://main.acsevents.org/goto/eastsidelemonators.
Doug Johnson, of Watson, comments on the late delivery of the Sunday Advocate due to an equipment breakdown:
“We appreciate those of you who strive to bring us the latest news, but please remember four years from now that it isn’t necessary to wait until the Florida vote count is in to send the paper.”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.
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