Maybe it's the cooler weather, but readers keep telling food stories. I hope the folks at The Advocate's award-winning Food section don't mind us nudging in on their territory:
Jim Mestayer, of Baton Rouge, says, "This is in reference to the reader who stated Louisiana people 'eat anything:'
"One day, while I was in the Army, Malcolm (the only other soldier in my company from the South), ran up to me in a huff.
"He had been bragging to some Yankees about how tough us boys from the South were: among other things, we ate anything!
"A few of the Yankees remembered this. They caught a snake (non-poisonous) and challenged us to eat some of it.
"Malcolm said he couldn't do it alone. Despite my initial repulsion, I agreed to do it with him.
"The Yankees fried it over a campfire and proceeded to give each of us a piece. Well, I proceeded to eat my share. With its skeleton, it reminded me of a turkey neck. It wasn't that bad, surprisingly.
"The Yankees were impressed, and I had helped to defend the South!"
(Since they were Yankees, I doubt if they prepared it as I do my fried snake; roll it in Tony Chachere's and serve it with Zatarain's Creole Mustard.)
Gumbo and sides
Speaking of fine dining: After my Wednesday rant about potato salad in gumbo (I'm against it), I heard from readers who agreed with me — my favorite kind of readers:
— Bill Huey, of Baton Rouge, says, "About the potato salad in gumbo: I tried it once and can’t say I loved it.
"Love it on the side though, especially from Jay’s Barbecue, which tastes as close to my mom’s as I’ve found."
— Deanne Israel says, "Thanks for posing the topic of adding potato salad to seafood or chicken and sausage gumbo.
"I grew up in New Orleans, and never heard of this tradition until recent years. As much as I love both gumbo and potato salad, the thought of them being in the same bowl doesn't seem appetizing.
"Would you top an étouffée, sauce piquant, or red beans and rice with potato salad? And what's the deal with adding boiled eggs to gumbo? Puzzling!"
— Barry Dufour, of Carencro, says, "I can remember growing up in Nawlins having okra gumbo when the first cold front rolled in.
"Being my parents were from Avoyelles Parish, we always had a chicken, sausage, and okra gumbo with hot potato salad on the side. We always ate potato salad as a side dish.
"When I married my wife, Wanda, from Carencro, she introduced me to a baked sweet potato as a side. I've learned to love this.
"She makes the potato salad just for me sometimes.
"We even have some neighbors here in Carencro who add mayo in their gumbo!"
(I wish you hadn't included that last sentence, Barry. There are some things I'd rather not know…)
Keith Horcasitas, of Baton Rouge, says, "With the cool prospect for us native Yats of possibly getting to see our beloved 'Who Dats' play at Tiger Stadium soon, we'll have to practice jeering loudly…"
Indeed. And we need to learn all the things Saints fans call the refs when they blow a call. Not that I can print any of them…
Special People Dept.
— Sam Gallo, of St. James Place in Baton Rouge, celebrated his 91st birthday Monday, Oct. 12.
— Ronald and Vera Landry, of Belle Rose, celebrated their 61st anniversary Saturday, Oct. 10.
— Wayne and Arden Levet, of Metairie, celebrate their 60th anniversary Thursday, Oct. 15.
From Michael Hess, of Slidell: "I'm really upset. I just read where they're not going to make 12-inch rulers any longer."
John Engelsman, of Baton Rouge, tells of a dispute with his spouse:
"Cathi has the gall to accuse me of becoming a recluse. I vigorously deny her bogus assertion — but couldn't help noticing this morning a sizable spider web extending from my truck to a nearby okra plant. Does she have a point?"