As a gumbo purist, I was somewhat shocked by T.W.'s note:
"Although not a native Louisianian, I have lived here since the Army brought me down from the Frozen Nawth 32 years ago.
"I learned Cajun cooking from a great friend, mischievous character and master “chef” Russell Gremillion (who, sadly, passed away a few months ago at 91).
"To establish a bit of street cred, I make my own roux and suck crawfish heads.
"That being said, my daughter and I were making gumbo a while back and noticed a bag of corn in the freezer. Not being one to waste food or afraid of a little experimentation, I tossed the corn in the gumbo.
"We both agreed it enhanced the gumbo enough to make it an ongoing ingredient. However, when telling others of this deliciousness I stumbled upon, I find myself the target of much contemptuous ridicule and mockery.
"I know someone with your sophisticated palate (I vaguely remember something about you eating nutria and cocker spaniel) you’ll back me up on this one.
"I mean, if you’re going to throw potato salad in there, how can you shoot down corn?"
Sorry, T.W., but I can neither recommend potato salad NOR corn for anything but side dishes with gumbo.
Corn belongs in shrimp and corn soup, a wonderful dish that once helped me through a bout with pneumonia. But as another reader said recently, eating gumbo is a religious experience, and I fear your suggestion borders on heresy.
Let me explain
T.W. mentioned my dining on nutria and cocker spaniel in his above note, which is not strictly true.
Once, when the Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon featured nutria dishes by Chef Philippe Parola, promoting the rodent as an entree, WAFB-TV reporter Paul Gates was on hand to ask us how we liked nutria.
I jokingly told him, "It tastes kinda like cocker spaniel."
Paul aired the quote, to which anchor Donna Britt admonished me on the air, "Smiley, stop that!"
I also heard from numerous dog lovers who didn't get the joke.
Lesley Marcello, of Thibodaux, says our story about the man who included his years with his first wife when asked how long he'd been married "reminded me of something my father used to say.
"My parents had been married just over 50 years when my mother died. When he remarried a few years later, he married someone whose husband had died after they had been married 48 years.
"Daddy would say, 'We've been married 98 years; just not to each other.' It often took people a few moments to catch on."
Special People Dept.
- Earl J. Perere, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 99th birthday Monday, Oct. 26. A former Plaquemine resident, he is a Western Electric retiree and a World War II Navy veteran.
- Ralph F. Dupuy celebrated his 97th birthday Saturday, Oct. 24. A World War II Navy veteran, he served aboard the carrier USS Cowpens, which escorted the battleship USS Missouri to Tokyo Bay for the peace treaty ceremony with Japan.
Joe Theriot, of Baton Rouge, adds to our recollections of Regal Beer:
"In the mid-’50s, an uncle who was an announcer at a radio station in Lafayette would bring me old records that were no longer played.
"One I still have is a 78 rpm on the CRL label, copyright by the American Brewing Co. of New Orleans.
"Who could ever forget the A side, That Regal Feelin’, and the B side, Regal Boogie?
"Both sides still play very good. I would assume not many copies exist."
Oh, THAT Joe
If the name Joe Theriot sounds familiar, that may be because in 1990 he won the Shemp Howard Lookalike Contest at Donaldsonville's late lamented Shemp Festival.
Shemp, of course, was the fourth member of the Three Stooges, and some Donaldsonville characters put on the festival to give him some well-deserved recognition.
Leo Honeycutt, then a morning TV star at Baton Rouge's WBRZ, was named Grand Moron, led a parade and hit some folks (including me) with pies.