Posted in cooking with love, Crawfish, Eunice, Louisiana, Family, Food, Mothers

Momma’s Food for Thought by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Momma’s Food for ThoughtMama gumbo

Momma cooked rice and gravy every day for us. She made dinner at noon and supper at night.  We had fish on Fridays (shrimp or crawfish for special occasions). Gumbo was in the fall and winter and boiled crawfish on Good Friday.

Momma’s rice and gravy, whether served with smothered steak, baked chicken, or pork sausage, was lick-the-plate-if-I-could delicious. I would hum my “Yum-yums” at times, and she’d laugh and warn me, “No singing at the table.” She loved all fresh vegetables and liked her toast almost burnt. Her dessert preferences were sweet dough pie, a moist bundt cake, or anything with fresh figs.

Momma taught me to appreciate and enjoy good food. She never weighed much over 100 pounds, yet she loved to cook and share meals with loved ones like a true Ville Platte Cajun.  For her, the perfect breakfast was hot boudin and dark roast Community coffee. If you added a small greasy paper bag of fresh cracklins, the morning got even better.

I remember our summer dinners of ground beef and onions over a bed of Watermaid rice with field peas and cold sliced homegrown tomatoes on the side. Late  August afternoons often meant cold sliced watermelon topped with salt at our backyard picnic table after we had been swimming or playing tennis.

Mama & watermelon
Me, Momma, Ryan, and Emile 1987

Momma taught me to follow a few of her important food rules:

*Brown your meat well to make the “gradeau” you need for a gravy.

*Do not put seafood in your chicken gumbo or vice-versa.

*Never make an étouffée with “those Chinese crawfish.”

*If you give up sweets for Lent, you can have yogurt-covered raisins because Miss Jen said “those don’t count as sweets.”

Most importantly, my lil momma taught me that good food mattered and you gotta enjoy every bite. I may not have hot boudin in Austin, but Community coffee is everywhere now, and I can pretend my doughnut is a slice of blackberry sweet dough  pie. 

Merci beaucoup, Geraldine Latour aka Poulette aka Momma aka MaMa for teaching me that the best things in life have a bite of spice and taste so good you wanna Slap Ya Mama!slap ya mama

Posted in Aging process, Cajuns, Crawfish, Introspection, Worries

Splatter Brain by Ginger Keller Gannaway

                                                                 Splatter Brain 

Splatter paint Evan
Art by Evan Gannaway

My brain feels so unfocused and rudderless…

Clovis Crawfish
from Clovis and his Friends by Mary Alice Fontenot; illustrated by R.A. Keller

Like a crawfish let out of the sack during a Good Friday crawfish boil. 

I slowly travel through the backyard grass, claws held high, trying to escape the boiling pot of doom. However, I’m tottering directly towards the danger zone. Soon the guy wearing the “Suck My Head” t-shirt will pick me up by the mid-point of my back so that my snapping claws can’t reach and he’ll plop me into the roiling pot with the rest of my family and friends.

Also, I’m a crawdad with one claw smaller than the other because a bluejay attacked me Clovis and Bluejayonce and flew away with my left claw.  I’m now navigating the tall grass like a drunk Cajun leaving an LSU football game and looking for his pick-up. However, I need to “roll on  between the ditches” as Emmylou & Rodney advise,(“Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight”) so maybe, just maybe, I will make it to a scrub bush away from the joking, yelling crowds, and I will nestle into a soft spot of shade and relax until a white Chihuahua sniffs me out. She lets loose a few yaps before a swift  snap of my right claw catches her black button nose and she hurries off toward the next new smell. I lay low for awhile until I feel like I’m dying of thirst (because I am).

Wait a second! I just let my brain turn me into a crawfish fighting for its life.  See what a splatter of nonsense I have brewing in my head.

Now I’m the mad water inside the crawfish pot! The water teems with Slap Ya Momma spices and Crab Boil and onions, corn, and potatoes. Someone left the lid on too long and I’m about to boil over.  The day’s demands overwhelm me! This girl is on fire, but not with power and focus — with her bald scalp flaming and her head making a Scanners explosion!

If I can just make myself count my breaths and look at the tree branches coming into focus as the sun pinkens the sky, my Splatter Brain will calm down. I  will use prayer and meditation, and all shall be well….until my next Walter Mitty moment.