Our recent cold snap is waning, but the memory lingers on.
Mary Pramuk tells how it is to live where this kind of winter weather lasts all winter:
"This cold weather must be terrible for people who have never experienced such cold.
"It brings to mind a story about a student from Louisiana who had migrated to New York for further education and opportunities, and managed to deal with a Northern winter with two other Queens College students who together rented an unheated former synagogue to live in.
"Here's where creative thinking came into play. They had purchased sleeping bags for beds, and when they weren't warm enough, they would whip out their blow driers and blast warm air into their sleeping bags.
"The down side of this was the noise of the driers being turned on and off all night."
I don't normally plug books other than my own, but St. Francisville author Anne Butler has come up with a book that aims to help solve a serious Louisiana problem in a delicious way:
"Speaking of rampant feral hogs, LDWF says we can't barbecue our way out of this mess — but we can try, can't we?"
She says her new "Big Badass Boar Cookbook," which she wrote with Amanda McKinney, is "full of fine recipes from everybody from Chef John Folse on down to the 'downhomest' hunters, with precautionary notes on safe handling and cooking. It's available in bookstore and shops in St. Francisville."
Warning: The cover photo Anne sent me portrays the ugliest, meanest-looking boar I've ever seen and has to be the least appetizing cover of any cookbook ever published. But if you can get past that, the recipes sound scrumptious.
Grace before roadkill
Redean Parsons says her great-granddaughter Macie, 4½, "was in the car with her grandmother when they saw several buzzards circling an area.
"Macie asked what kind of birds they were and what they were doing.
"Her grandmother told her they were buzzards and they were circling something dead they were going to eat. Macie remarked, 'Oh, they are saying their blessing?'"
A guy named Spooky
When The Advocate moved into the New Orleans market, I was delighted to start hearing from new readers in such communities as Kenner — and one of the first was John "Spooky" Johnson.
For three years or so, I'd get little stories from Spooky, about his football days at Tulane, his coaching career, his time in the Navy, etc.
A few days ago, I got this note from Terrie Farrand:
"My dad loved contributing to your column. He has shared his anniversary (63 years) and his 92nd birthday in November. He passed away Jan. 2. I wanted to share this with you, as your column was important to him."
Terrie gave me this description of Spooky: "A lover of life, the perfect old fashioned, football, golf, tennis and bad jokes, Spooky blessed and entertained those lucky enough to cross his path."
It occurs to me that that description would fit a great many of my contributors. …
After Jay Huner described mashed potatoes with kale as a Dutch and Irish staple, Don Andersen, of Baton Rouge, added another country to the mix:
"My family is Danish — my father was born in Denmark, as were my mother's parents.
"We always had kale mixed with mashed potatoes for holidays; I still fix it occasionally. It is about a 50-50 mixture of finely chopped kale and mashed potatoes, salt and pepper and lots of butter. Some people add a little bacon grease and a pinch of nutmeg.
"Another holiday staple was sweet-and-sour red cabbage. Still love both those wonderful tastes from my childhood."
Wayne LeCompte, of Metairie, gives us the new "Worst Cajun joke of 2018:"
"Boudreaux got two new dogs for Christmas.
"Thibodeaux ax Boo, 'What’s their names?'
"Boudreaux: 'One is Rolex; the other one is Timex.'
"Thibodeaux: 'Why'd you name them dat?'
"Boo says, 'Because they are watch dogs.'"
Boat at Manchac pier
Fried catfish with view of lake
Cool way to do lunch