Momma’s Food for Thought
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.
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!