I realize this will come as a shock to many folks, but there are places where the residents don't understand red beans and rice. Two examples:

  • Ellen B. McLean, MD, says, "Your recent stories of red beans and rice as a meal for us reminded me of an incident when our son was a student at NYU in the late 1990s.

"He lived in an apartment in Spanish Harlem, and there was a nearby Popeyes. Being on a limited budget, he frequently went to Popeyes and ordered just a large red beans and rice.

"One day an employee tried to explain to him that this was a side dish only. Our son explained that in Louisiana it’s a meal — and was met with disbelief!"

  • Peggy Duffel Simmons, of New Orleans, says, "Our son, Christopher, attended Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont, in the ’80s.

"He was so disappointed in the food served in the cafeteria that he became a member of the food committee.

"One day he called me for the recipe for red beans and rice, which the cafeteria chef had never heard of. He wrote down specific instructions for the chef.

"A few weeks later he called and said the cafeteria served red beans and rice. The raw onions were floating on top of the beans, and they were tasteless. Yuck! He gave up and resigned from the committee."

Dime dinner

Kate Randall, of Baton Rouge, says, "When my great-uncle by marriage, Tom Mary, ran my great-grandparents’ store, M.P. LeBlanc, in Smoke Bend, north of Donaldsonville, farm workers from the sugar cane fields would ask for 'a nickel rice, nickel bean, and lagniappe onion.'

"What a great meal!

"By the way, white beans are the preferred legume in that region, as they are today in my kitchen and on my table and tables of my extended family."

Bubble trouble

Marsha R., of Baton Rouge, comments on a Saturday letter about warnings on dish soap:

"I was surprised that Virginia Howard's dish soap label admitted that some might drink it — and that the response would be to follow it with a glass of water.

"Shouldn't they also remind you not to jump up and down afterwards to avoid bubbles?"

Tastes like cardboard

If you're not happy with the last pizza you had delivered, perhaps you didn't follow the directions on the box, as reported by Kathy Gibbs, of Mandeville, and some other readers:

"Open box before eating pizza."

Well named

Regarding our recent mention of appropriate names, T.W. says, "My high school best friend’s brother graduated from Stanford Law School, and is now a litigation partner at a fancy Los Angeles firm. His name? Kayser Sume. Yep, two syllables; just how you think it sounds."

And while I was clipping her crawfish stew recipe, I realized that one of The Advocate's top food writers, a culinary genius, has a perfect name for her job: Corinne Cook.

Nice People Dept.

Lynn and Elliot Bourgeois thank "the nice man who paid for our meal at Frank's Restaurant in Baton Rouge. He drives a red Camaro convertible.

"Our server told us the man pays for someone's meal each time he comes to Frank's."

Special People Dept.

  • Marie Accardo Merrill, of Williamsburg Assisted Living, Baton Rouge, celebrated her 98th birthday Wednesday, March 3.
  • Frances "Cookie" Durand, of Plaquemine, celebrates her 96th birthday Tuesday, March 9.

Fishy offer

Ever wonder what happened to all those animated singing fish after the fad faded?

I have a theory that the manufacturer took out their singing feature, added more animation, and is now selling the, without the plaque, as "floppy fish" cat toys.

M. Lewis sends in a newspaper ad for the floppy fish from Ollie's Bargain Outlet, showing a photo of the fish being held by a cat, who looks a little bored by the whole thing.

What caught the eye of our reader was the line in the ad, "Cat not included."

Sounds like a clever way to get people to acquire cats. Who else would want to play with a floppy fish?

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.