Wayne Coco, of Simmesport, discusses the special language patterns of South Louisiana:

"We can all appreciate our unique culture in French speaking Louisiana, but no better than those of us growing up in the 'Free State of Avoyelles.'

"Recently, the son of the lady who trims my hair, 5-year-old Parker Laborde from Bunkie, shared his Avoyelles English lesson with us.

"Parker is a bright young boy in kindergarten, attending St. Mary’s Catholic School in Cottonport.

"His teacher’s lesson for the day was to construct a sentence using a key word. The key word for this exercise was the word 'me.'

"So, Parker promptly writes on his paper, 'I like gumbo, me!'

"I don’t know what grade the teacher gave him, but I would have given him an A, me!"

Dat wascally wabbit!

Brian Boudreaux, of Terrytown, responds to Martin Hugh-Jones' Friday lament about the scarcity of native meats:

"Café 615, 'Home of Da Wabbit,' in Gretna, has it going on!

"Regular menu items include frog legs and liver and onions, and every Thursday the lunch special is white beans and smothered 'wabbit!'"

Which reminds me

Years ago I was taking a Sunday drive to no place in particular when I stopped by a Gonzales bar for hydration.

It was late in the afternoon, and the young lady behind the bar advised me that in a short time they would be serving a free supper.

I asked about the menu, and she told me the main dish was "swamp rabbit sauce piquant."

Of course I stayed, and of course it was delicious. One thing I noticed was the size of the rabbits in the dish. I figured they were only slightly smaller than elk.   

Appetizing reading

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Herb Smith notes that Friday's column item about native foods mentions Chef John Folse:

"His book, 'The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine,' offers recipes of most meats, including alligator, nutria, frog legs, raccoon, squirrel, venison, boar, rabbit, oxtail, and rabbit (to mention just a few), plus local seafood and fowl of all types.

"A must-have reference book for any serious, or not too serious, Cajun wanna-be chef.

"Being raised in St. Martinville, one of my favorite go-to books is Marcelle Bienvenu's, 'Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, And Can You Make A Roux?' (is that a title, or what?).

"There are many sources in southwest Louisiana for these meats — ya just gotta have a mon ami who knows a mon ami."

Losing his head 

Linda Harrigill Whitam, of Baton Rouge, says, "Regarding your story about rarely found foods, frog legs (and liver, for liver and onions) can be found at Hi Nabor on Jones Creek Road.

"And I found a whole pig's head for hog head cheese at the Walmart on O'Neal Lane. I've never seen this in a grocery story. Check it out!"

In order for me to "check it out," Linda sent a photo of the head, showing that while it may be tasty, it is not photogenic. 

Eat your cattails

C. "Doc" Rody says the lad who, in the Friday column, referred to cattails as "swamp corndogs" was correct in viewing them as food:

"The link I sent (from the August 13 Farmers' Almanac) shows that parts of the plant can be used for lots of food products. As an environmental science teacher in Florida some years back, I taught students which plants out in the Everglades were edible in order to survive. We have many of the same plants here!"

The article says cattail roots can be grilled, baked, or boiled, and can be used to make flour. In the spring, the green catkins (which become the brown fuzzy "corndogs") can be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob.

City beautification

The only benefit of Saturday night's defeat of the LSU Tigers by the Arkansas Razorbacks for folks in Baton Rouge is that "The Boot," a 175-pound, 24-karat monstrosity, has been removed from this city after a five-year residence.

The Arkansas players seemed delighted to hoist the ugliest trophy in all of sports. No accounting for taste…      


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.