For the past ten days, my grandmother (Nana) has been visiting me. Although I don’t live very close to my family, I speak with them every weekend and correspond by e-mail everyday. I try to keep in touch, although life often gets in the way. I would love to live closer, but for now, this so-called life has other plans for me. So instead, we visit each other, though not often enough. Last summer, my mom visited. This May was Nana’s turn. And at some point, Uncle Johnny will head on up.
Even though Nana walks a mile and does water aerobics every morning, I think I wore her out walking her up and down the Seattle hills. However, she still found the energy, while I was absorbed deep in my work, to make me biscuits and catfish.
Anyone from Louisiana can tell you how important food is in life. Whenever I meet anyone from the Pelican State, the conversation immediately turns to food – where to find it up here; what we miss; how the crawfish just isn’t the same up here (too clean); how we guess we’re just going to have to make our own boudin… Life has always revolved around family dinners, coffee time at maw-maw’s, eatin’ when your sad, eatin’ when your happy, showing how much you love someone.
Mom made some traditional dishes, but that was usually Nana’s, Maw-Maw’s, or Aunt Clara Bo’s task. Mom is the one who introduced me to fast food, international food festivals, and fondue. I’ve been really fortunate to have been surrounded by so much diverse goodness. Even though I used to have taco-eating contests with my uncle (and pay the price dearly – ugh), I rarely over-indulge. I try to live by the rules of moderation, and appreciate everything from a Mickey D’s Big Mac and a coke to a gentle morsel of foie gras entier and a glass of Sauternes. Through my family I have learned where to find the best Muffaletta in New Orleans (Central Grocery), how neighbors used to slaughter a hog or cow and share the meat in big social gatherings, and about the transition of cooking/eating. I just want to say thank you to my family for teaching me the art and appreciation of down home cookin’ and fine cuisine. Family is important, no matter how much we all annoy each other sometimes, and showing how much we really do love each other every once in a while is pretty needed too. So go out & bake ya mamma a pie. Go on. Even though she may complain that you handled the crust just a little too much, she will appreciate it. Oh, and don’t forget the hugs.

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