This week’s Cats Paws is a collection of the wondrous things I experienced while on our annual holiday jaunt through Northern Louisiana, specifically Monroe and Shreveport. It will be pretty obvious that everything in and about the South mesmerizes me, not the least of which, my wife. Shall we?
1. Podnuh’s: I’ve never actually eaten at one of these lovely barbecue establishments. My wife tells me that it’s a good option when you don’t feel like pulling out your own grill or the 1.5 hour drive to Granny Alma’s doesn’t fit your timetable. Which is nice to know, but not at all why I love this place. It’s called Podnuh’s. I was instantly tickled with that name. So I yelled out “there’s Podnuh’s!” in my newly minted southern accent each time we passed one, literally giggling from the way it rolled off my tongue. Maybe next time down, I’ll actually eat there.
2. Get-n-Geaux: I bet you can guess why I like this one, too. Yup, the name. This particular name is a great example of just how endangered the letter “o” is in Louisiana. Whenever the chance presents itself, from “Geaux Tigers!” “Eaux no!”, Cajun trumps English in bayou country. Now, I did (somewhat reluctantly) actually patronize this wonderful, gas and sundries dispensing establishment, and learning something from a shirt on the way. Apparently, “Friends don’t let friends geaux to Alabama.”
3. Multiple meats: one of the things about my wife that has always befuddled me is her insistence upon having several meats at a single meal. I understand meat lovers – they eat a lot of it. Bt she not only wanted to eat a lot, she wanted to eat several different kinds. Now, I won’t claim to be an expert in the culinary habits of the Americas. But I now believe that her hunger for multiple meats is in her bayou blood. From Podnuh’s, to Catfish King, to Granny Alma’s house, it’s damn near impossible to find a plate in Louisiana that doesn’t have 2, 3, or more meats on it. Armed with this knowledge and a steep learning curve, the first meal I prepared upon our return home featured 2 meats – jerk chicken legs and red beans & rice prepared (with smoked sausage of course). Instant wife points.
Overall, our trip into the South was a great one. The Munchkin got his first taste of bayou accents (“Is that lady speaking French?!?!”) and fell in love with the warm version of winter. Wife got to relax in the home and with the people that defined so much of her childhood. And I? I just relaxed in a way that only the South has ever inspired in me. Maybe it’s the humidity in the air buoying me. Maybe it’s the southern drawls, lulling me into a semi-slumber. Or, perhaps, it’s the love of a beautiful, amazing family that I’m still getting to know, yet never fails to make me smile.
Creole by marriage, Buckeye by birth.