Readers share tales of food adventures outside Louisiana:

— Emmett Irwin says, "We were on vacation out west, and I ordered some grits at a restaurant. It was nothing but a bowl full of hot water with some grains of grits floating on top. I called the waitress over and asked for a straw. She seemed upset…"

— A reader says, "My uncle from north Louisiana married a young woman from Duluth, Minnesota. One Sunday they were having lunch with my grandparents, and my grandmother asked my uncle’s new bride if she would like some mustard greens. She replied that they did not eat grass in Minnesota."

— Nancy C. Van Den Akker says, "When we mailed some popcorn to relatives in the Netherlands, they popped it and ate it with milk and sugar. When I visited them in 1969, I brought a Jiffy Pop to show them how it should be fixed!" 

More mystery food 

— Redean Parsons, of St. Francisville, says, "On a Danube River cruise in Germany, as I was going through the breakfast buffet, the server asked if he could help me. Just to see how he would react, I told him I was looking for the grits. He said, 'What’s a grit?' Explaining grits to someone from Poland is very difficult!"

— Tanya Matta, of Raceland, says, "With my husband in the Coast Guard, we spent 28 years moving around. I had gardens in many of the places we lived, and in the upper peninsula of Michigan I planted a garden with a row or two of okra. I always got the question, 'What’s that?' When I told them okra, I got the question, 'What’s that?'”

Spring thaw 

Paul Major, of Livonia, reminds us of life in the Frozen Nawth:

"My wife was recently participating in a Zoom session with some of her high school classmates who currently live all over the country.

"The subject of what signs of spring each was observing came up. The usual first sightings of fresh leaves and flowers were common.

"That conversation came to an abrupt end when the classmate living in Minneapolis said the sign of spring there was when the snow finally melted and he could see the dead, brown grass underneath."

Which reminds me

I once worked with a guy from Chicago who told how he got to Baton Rouge.

He claimed that he had left his garbage can on the street before a Christmas ice storm and was unable to remove it from the ice until Easter.

So he sent out resumes to potential employers in the South, and wound up in Baton Rouge.

Yugo, I presume?

Susan Gremillion, I've read about all the folks who have locked themselves out of cars at inopportune moments. I have one to add.

"In 1987 (long before we owned cell phones), we were honeymooning in a tent near Pacific Valley, California, on Highway 1 (about an hour south of Big Sur and a million miles from civilization).

"My husband locked the keys in our rental car. I thought they would find our bodies weeks later. But fortunately, we had rented a very cheap car, and he was able to just jerk on the driver's side door handle and pop the lock.

"We were relieved, and felt fortunate we had rented the most poorly made car on earth."

Special People Dept.

— Jim and Rosalie Quigley, of Covington, celebrate their 70th anniversary Wednesday, March 17.

— Bob and Betty Guchereau, of Lafayette, celebrate their 65th anniversary Wednesday, March 17. She is the former Betty Ann Edwards, of Baton Rouge. He is a BellSouth retiree.

Sign language

Charlie Anderson tells of coming across a sign with a highly original spelling:

"In the 1960s, there was a roadside produce stand in Chalmette with a sign promoting 'sapsumers.'” (A citrus most of us know as satsumas.)

Unfortunate name

Gilda Barger says, "Regarding names appropriate for professions, there used to be a listing in the phonebook for an attorney, Robin Cheatham. Wonder if he/she is still in practice?"

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