Harvey Best, of Rosedale, says, "I have enjoyed the stories about the wonderful food and places to eat in south Louisiana, but I have a story a little closer to home.

"My wife, Shirley, has a reputation of being, if not the best, one of the best cooks on the bayou.

"Several years ago, for our Sunday family get-together, she decided on a chicken stew.

"Starting early, she prepared all the seasonings, roux, etc., then added two fat chickens in the big black iron pot to slowly cook.

"Later, to her surprise when she went to check, it was evidently so good that one chicken had eaten the other!"

Which reminds me

Many years ago I went on my first and only duck hunt at the Pecan Island camp of some merrymakers from New Roads.

That morning, before we went out, one of the guys got out a big cast iron pot and put in it a large hen, a whole jar of Savoie's dark roux, and as many cut-up onions as he could cram in the pot.

That was it; no liquid of any kind. He put the old gas stove on low, covered the pot, and off we went.

After the hunt in cold, wet weather, we got in about noon to a heavenly smell, and found waiting for us the best chicken stew I have ever tasted. The hen had cook cooked all to pieces, in a rich dark gravy.

(By the way, I has never invited back after I told the other guys in the blind, as they handed me a shotgun, "You know, no duck's ever done anything to me. …")         

Just two kids

Robert Days says, "Mention of Baton Rouge's Golden Slipper nightclub reminded me that I told Irma Thomas after one of her performances in the ’90s that the first time I saw her perform was at the Golden Slipper in the late ’50s — when neither one of us was old enough to be in the place."

A matter of taste

"Cootsie from Slaughter" says, "The discussion of the value and current availability of fruit cocktail perked my interest.

"I'm sorry to say the reason store shelves are still packed with cans of it is that the recipe for fruit cocktail has been modified to make it more 'healthy.'

"The sugar-based fluid that maintained the flavor of the fruit and added flavor to the cocktail has been replaced with pear juice, which tends to permeate the fruit pieces and makes them all have the same 'odd' taste. My great-grandkids made me aware of this issue."

Nice People Dept.

Tom Hawk tells a "double Good Samaritan" story:

"Different departments of my aging body have been tendering their resignations in the last few years. The other day it was the tire-changing department.

"An older lady had a flat in the parking lot of the Burger King at Interstate 110 and Chippewa in Baton Rouge. As I struggled in the midday sun, my efforts to break loose the first lug nut were laughably inadequate.

"A young man, driving by with three kids in his car, assessed the situation in a fraction of a second and whipped into the lot.

"He cheerfully took charge of the operation, and had the lady back on the road in about seven minutes.

"I didn't get his name, but I wanted to say, 'Thanks again.' He set a fine example for his kids — and probably saved an old Boomer from heat stroke."

Special People Dept.

  • Alice Duff Smith, of Baytown, Texas, celebrates her 96th birthday Saturday, July 4 (without fireworks this year). She is a Walker native.
  • Ellis J. Piglia of Gretna, celebrates his 91st birthday Saturday, July 4.
  • Patrick and Peggy Wax Harris, of Denham Springs, celebrate their 50th anniversary Friday, July 3.

Ahead of his time

D.C. Jensen, of Baton Rouge, says he was receiving lectures on the importance of social distancing long before the coronavirus struck:

"As a young lad, I received them from girls' parents, movie theater ushers, and cops patrolling parking areas." 

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.