A local chef recently told me the old dishes are coming back, and when he meets women, he likes to steal their mothers’ recipes. Women have always handed their history down this way. Mother to daughter, dishes passed through the generations, carrying in the butter and eggs a bit of their soul, an ingredient the supermarket doesn’t sell.
I have several recipes like this, carefully preserved. The oldest is a recipe for cornbread dressing my Oklahoma ancestors made in washtubs on the farm over a century ago. Others are typewritten and yellowed with age; others are transcribed by hand, one of which is my mother’s bourbon balls. Not to be confused with the candy of the same name, this tried-and-true variation common to the South uses cookie crumbs finished with a coating of powdered sugar, which prevents the evaporation of the alcohol. Once molded, they will keep up to a month.
Written in her own handwriting and bearing the name of the long-ago Army wife from whom she got it, my mother’s recipe calls for a pound of vanilla wafers, chopped nuts, cocoa, dark Karo syrup and several jiggers of bourbon or rum. It’s simple to put together, even more so now than in her day due to food processors. You pulse the cookies to crumbs, mix in the other ingredients and when the mixture holds together, roll into small balls, which you finish by rolling once more in powdered sugar. Although the ingredients are common, even crude by today’s culinary standards, they make a beautiful presentation on a cake stand, suitable for a cocktail party or an officers ladies’ tea.
They’re also like cookie shots.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at Fete@theadvocate.com
Eh La Bas
The sun shone on the Shining Light Foundation as it staged its annual Zydeco-Cajun Bash at the Vermilionville Performance Center. The event proceeds help provide for K-8 students in need of financial assistance for academic, cultural and personal enrichment, and taking tickets at the counter herself was Shining Light founding mother and President Carolyn French. “This community has given wonderful support,” said French. "The musicians donate their time, and every penny goes to the children.” Among those completing their sound checks and signing their checks: fiddle player Luke Huval with Dylan Aucoin, Corey Ledet, Roddie Romero, and Jeanne and Louis Cornay.
Those stalwart souls, the Rain Angels, guaranteed again that the show must go on and it did. The five-day festival, which emphasizes the French-speaking world but has expanded its sway to others as well, set up shop downtown for the duration, including a swanky tent for its underwriters. Enjoying the music, art and festival ambiance in addition to some City Club catering and open bar were Darrellyn Burts, Drs. Ronnie Daigle and Patricia Cran, Dr. Rachelle Meaux, Joel and Perri Prellop, a newly-engaged Nick Dubuisson and a festive Jack Castle. A special thanks also to Lafayette’s finest, doing their duty with a brave smile — 300,000 people can’t be easy.
The second annual ICON Arts and Cultural Awards were held at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. ICON recipients are local artists and cultural trailblazers who have impacted Acadiana, and this year’s crop included South of I-10’s Sonny Landreth, photographer Phillip Gould, Cezanne Nails and the Junior League of Lafayette. Proceeds from the event benefit the ABC Fund — Arts, Business and Culture — to sustain their endowment in support of the same.
The Galvez Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution met at the Petroleum Club to recognize those devoted to their cause of promoting history, education and patriotism. Receiving their honors for good citizenship were Kaitlin Guidry, Madeleine Thibeaux, Jonathan Harding, Cassie LeBlanc, Taylor Randall and Kiera Williams, seniors selected for their dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. Sharing the accolades were outstanding history teacher Jill Ardoin from St. Thomas Moore High School and her higher education counterpart, UL-Lafayette’s Julia Fredericks. Thibeaux will go on to compete for glory at the district level. What we loved: The honors were doled out on the exact day in 1776 that the American Revolution began.
Follow the Money
The Philanthropic Education Organization Chapter Y met at the Johnston Street Library to present its new officers. Plans were made to distribute its $4,500 in scholarship funds, half of which will remain locally and the rest to go to a "Star" somewhere in the U.S. Stars are nominated by individual chapters who are then selected by states and finally overall. The P.E.O. awards money to women wishing to continue their education. Taking on the mantle of power are Renee Hennigan, Carol Baker, Judy Scheps, Conny Hillebure and Heather Hennigan.
The Young and the Restless
College students wondering what it might be like to go from lawless to lawyer got the chance at the Lafayette Bar Association's "A Day in the Life of a Lafayette Lawyer." A panel of LBA's Young Lawyer's Section told it like it was to their UL-Lafayette and Southwest Community College guests, among them Roya Boustany, of the District Attorney's Office, and her husband, Alfred Boustany II, of the Boustany Law Firm.
Ici On Parle Francais
CODOFIL, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, accepted its accolades where else? The Festival International de la Louisiane. The mission of the Agence des Affaires Francophones is to support and grow Louisiana's French-speaking communities through scholarships, immersion and other language programs, and for that, they received the 19th International Achievement Award. William Arceneaux accepted on behalf of CODOFIL and a reception followed at Jefferson Street Pub.
Publisher and stylist Greg Baudoin signed copies of "Garden District: Florists to the Field" hosted by Kiki in River Ranch. Flanked by kangaroo paws from Holland and hydrangeas, the Abbeville native explained that each chapter is a destination about the process. "Life is a garden tended well," said Baudoin. "The book's like farm-to-table only flower to table. We took growers and vendors and went to their fields, and then the various events around it." Kiki herself was in Italy, but daughter Katie Culbert did the honors and served some excellent wine and snacks, with "My Fair Lady" on the telly.