Archive for the 'What We Love About Slidell' Category

Felt Like A Lifetime

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

How are we to meet such anxiety?  Form ranks & draw together.  Bring on the food & drink.  Let my people hear music.  A ditty from Better Than Ezra.  Anyone remember when BTE played the old Sarraille’s?  When Nicky had it?  A Lifetime (~3.5 MB mp3).  A total melancholy rocker about taking the full measure of things in a moment of despair.  Even in defeat, we exult.  Is that Louisiana or what? 

To all those in Dallas about to ride out your first hurricane

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Back when the world was younger, and I was less freaked out, I wrote a post about how it’s better to throw a hurricane party in Texas, meaning that we had vamoosed from Slidell.  Boy, do I rue the day I was flippant enough to say that.  As it stands now, we’ll be riding out what looks to be a category 1 hurricane by the time it gets up here to Dallas on Sunday. [Note:  if you’re reading this from SW or Central La., please stop reading now.  Evacuate, and then come back to this post from the safety of your new digs in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Montgomery, Memphis, whereever.  This storm is as bad as what we all just went through, which is to say hell & high water.  So, please split.]

Now, to all those Dallas folks.  Don’t freak out.  It will be windy & rain all weekend.  You are not used to this, I know, & I promise we did not mean to drag tropical weather up here with us.  I’ll give you a few pointers to help you make it through.  If you call me, I can do a Bob Breck impersonation that will entertain me and probably leave you confused.  At any rate, here’s how you make a first-rate Sazerac, the quintessential cocktail of New Orleans.  Run down to the Centennial and grab some rye, Herbsaint & Peychaud’s bitters.  A few of these and you’ll fret less about weather.  Or at least you’ll be more likely to tell entertaining stories while we’re all cooped up.  Twist my arm, and I’ll tell you how to make a pot of chicken & sausage gumbo for Sunday as well.

The full post from this May can be found here.  The good part:

We’ll nominate the Sazerac as the southern face of perfection. Chuck Taggert of the Gumbo Pages can, as usual, tell you all you need to know about the drink — the history, the options, the certain elan with which you might consume one.

We are flexible. Have your Sazerac however you like it. Bourbon, Cognac, the traditional Rye. Just mix it up. Make two while you’re at it.

Here’s how we do it:

Enough simple syrup (say 1 tsp or so)
2 shots Old Overholt rye
3 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters (here, we break from tradition)
A dribble of Herbsaint

Chill Old Fashioned glass. In your shaker, mix syrup, whiskey, bitters. Stir with mucho ice. Pour Herbsaint in chilled glass and spin around (right round, baby, like a record) to coat glass. Pour out the Herbsaint if anise ain’t your thing. Strain whiskey goodness into the coated glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. (Here, again, we break from tradition.)

& enjoy. It mellows & changes as you sip your way through it. Equally apropos whether you are bubbly or thoroughly run down and flocked around by the world.


Comfort Food & Comfort

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Monday is, of course, the day for red beans & rice.  Comfort food.  Slow cooked, soothing & nourishing.  Having supper with family just slows things down and makes you feel better.   As a friend of mine said yesterday — "I miss home.  I miss red beans."  So, we’re having red beans tonight.  I invite you to make a pot as well.   As they simmer, think about what you can do to help the folks in Slidell and other places on the coast where houses & lives are broken right now.

How I Make Red Beans

Fry up some bacon.  (Starts off right, eh?)  Use the drippings to saute 1 diced onion, 4 diced stalks of celery, a diced bell pepper.  Add 1 lb of sliced andouille sausage (Savoie’s for us, though we’ll be using some from the Central Market deli tonight).  Simmer that around a bit and let the sausage render up some goodness.  Once all the veggies are wilted, add four or five diced cloves of garlic.  Give these just a minute or so and then add your 1 lb of red beans.  (Rinsed.  Some people, I know, talk about soaking them overnight.  My life just doesn’t work that way.  I throw em in and sort of stir fry them till they wrinkle up.  That speeds up the cooking process.)   Once the beans are a bit wrinkly, add water.  Maybe 3/4 of the pot.  Season with bay leaves, salt, pepper, maybe Tony Chacherie’s if you have it.  Turn up the heat, let the beans come to a boil.  Then reduce to simmer & cover.  Give them some ‘getting good’ time.  A few hours, at least.  Then, once they soften, smash about 1/3 of the beans against the side of the pot.  This makes it all creamy and, like, wow good.  Stir in some chopped green onions at the end.  Serve with rice.

Hacks, Mods, Fooling Around

Add another 1 lb of chopped ham to the veggie/sausage base.  Or, even better, use a ham bone from a smoked ham.  I like either Melinda’s Habanero & Garlic hot sauce or Crystal hot sauce with mine.  Also, you can garnish with green onions and chopped red bell pepper as a nice little fresh-it-up thing atop your slow cooked beans.  



Slidell Account from a Relief Worker

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

In depth account of what is going on in town from a relief worker there.  Bless your heart.  Thanks for the help.  Listen to how our people are handling this adversity with grace:

Person after person when asked what their need was told us exactly what there need was.

"I don’t need any water, but do you have 3 pillows?"
"I don’t need those pillows, do you have any tums or asprin"
"I don’t need that cereal, save it for the babies…do you have any
"We have plenty of water, but we need a little food"

Almost to a person they began with what they didn’t need….almost to a person they would tell us who needed a certain item more than they did. I was not prepared for this selflessness. I was prepared for gun-battles, military check points and defense of our truck - later I felt foolish for this.

You Took My Joy, I Want It Back

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

I’m gonna go to Slidell & look for my joy.

(3.8 MB mp3)  Raise a glass to Lucinda.  & our town.   


What We Love About Slidell

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Maybe the best way to rebuild a place is to recount the reasons you love that place.  We’re going to make a running list of the things we love about Slidell.  Send us yours.  I’ll make a separate page of these things that we can keep under the pillow, in a pocket next to our hearts,  on the hotel room nightstand, as balm & buoy while we’re watching and dealing with all this. So, we’ll start:

What We Love About Slidell

We stop each other in the grocery store and talk & talk & talk.  At the end of that chat, before you go back to your life, they ask how your mom & dad are.

My kids are growing up with my friends’ kids.

That my son asks me to ride around town with him and tell him ‘about the old days.’  

That my kids can go to the same church that I was raised in, married in, spent every Christmas eve in.

That Judy Farrow & her amazing group of friends have had lunch every Tuesday together for 18 years.

That people from Bayou Liberty will say they are going to Slidell when they need to go shopping.

Slidell High football games.

Southside Cafe.

Hanging with my friend Chuck Walker who can remember everything that has ever happened to us since first grade.

How seeing the sign saying ‘Entering St. Tammany Parish’ just makes you feel better.

Eating crawfish and drinking too many beers while we all talk all night.

Zebra, bra.

That everyone in town is connected by maybe two degrees of separation through David Cry.

Kenney Seafood.

That John Besh started cooking at The Cast Net and speaks fondly of what he learned.  

That as I stand on the first base line at an SBBA field, all my coaches  (Bert, Pat, Sam) will walk by and say hello in the course of a few innings.

That the Ten Acres my dad and everyone else’s dad worked so hard to build has like a zillion fields and a zillion baseball mad kids today. 

That when a man as good as Ned Eades passes on, the entire town stops and properly honors him.  

Taking the kids to Heritage Park.

Beignets at the train station.

That you might be in shorts or snow on Christmas day.   

That you can start a web site and your high school friends from all over the world will call & email you to check on you and say hello.