New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Friday, July 12, 2024
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Food & Drink

Image: Vic and Nat'ly by Bunny Matthews

Absinthe = highly addictive “likker”. Has been outlawed for many years. One great non-touristy Bourbon Street bar is the 'Old Absinthe House'.

Alligator pears = avacados. Many a New Orleans housewife (including my mother) put toothpicks in the center of the pit/seed and put the bottom half in water on the window sill to grow a nice plant which, on some lucky occasions, rooted and were planted in the backyard. Some quotes: 'How about Alligator Pears in vinegah and earl!' (translation-- How about some avacados in vinegar and oil?'

Andouille = cajun sausage

BEIGNET - pronounced 'ben-yay'. A rectangular donut topped with powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar). Most famously sold at the 'Morning Call' and 'Cafe Dumond' (pronounced 'Ca-fay' doo-maw'. Cafe Dumond is on Decatur Street--cat-a-corner to Jackson Sguare. Morning Call was forever in the next block down Decatur until they moved (literaly moved the wood panelling, the mirrors, the counters, the stools, and the sign to a location in Metairie (a suburb of New Orleans)near 'Fat City' (Fat City is a whole other story).

Barq's = 'It's Good' says the company who makes it but they will not admit that it's rootbeer.

Big Shot Cola = One of the rare (if not only)instance of a local product touting themselves NOT as a soft drink, but as a 'cola'. The label had a guy wearing a suit and hat smoking a cigar--'tacky' by today's terms but apparently looking like a 'Big Shot' in those days.

Bisque = roux, seasonings, crawfish

black pepper = black pepper, as opposed to cayenne pepper.

Brown Gravy = rich, dark, thick gravy made by starting with a Roux

Chee Wees = chedder cheese flavored snack food made by Elmer's Foods. Could be had fried or baked.

cold drink = soft drink = what other people call 'soda', 'pop' or 'cola'. A quote: 'I worked in a store when I was a kid and I remember someone asking where the 'hot' cold drinks were? Translation: 'Where are the unrefrigerated colas?'

Cowan = a local cantankerous, snappy turtle that has been turned into a delicious soup/gumbo for many generations. It is ceremoniously made at Easter time by creoles/free people of color and 'American noire', as the old creoles folks use to say. WWOZ's 'Records From The Crypt' on Wednesday Nights from 7-10pm, is hosted by Billy Dell. Billy uses a lot of the language we are gathering here, including 'pyrootin'. If you’re into yatology be sure to listen in on Wednesday nights.

Crawfish = needs no description. NEVER pronounced “cray-fish

Creole cream cheese = a dairy product similar to (sort of) to Philadelphia Cream Cheese but soaked in cream.

Creole tomatoes = large ugly looking tomatoes with, tough, cracked skins which taste like no other tomatoe in the world. The best-- grown in gardens all over the area

Doe-baj cake =Doberge cake = multi-layered cake filled with lemon and/or chocolate pudding coated with hard icing

dressed = a po-boy with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mynez.

earl = oil, as in 'I like ma alligator pears cut in half wit earl an vinegah in da hole'. It has been said that 'Eaten any other way is not the same; not the same experience, taste, or results. When eating an alligator pear its best to conduct not only the preparation, but the eating part as well, at the kitchen table. A dining room takes away some of the flavor.'

EE-clair = Éclair

figs = figs. Fig tress grow all over the neighborhood of New Orleans and surrounding areas. A quote: 'But ya gotta beat dem boids to da figs!

french fry po boys = New Orleans style 'French Bread' or 'Po-Boy Bread' stuffed with French Fries & roast beef gravy--dressed.

French toast a.k.a 'pain perdu' a.k.a 'lost bread' = “day old” bread soaked in a milk/egg mixture, pan fried in butter, and topped with confectioner’s sugar (a. k.a. “powdered suger”), with butter and/or syrup.

Gold Bricks = chocolate and pecan candy manufactured by the Elmer's company. During Easter season they were also sold in the shape of eggs ('Gold Brick Eggs')

Grillades = beef round cooked till tender in brown gravy. Often served with grits

Gumbo = Start with a roux, add ya “seasonings” , some seafood, chiken or Andouille
and eat in heaven.

'half a dime gravy sammitch' = French bread and roast beef gravy 5 cents.

Heavenly Hash = pecan, chocolat, and marshmallow candy sold by Elmer's Foods. Egg shaped during Easter.

Hog's head cheese = not cheese

japanese plums = fruit grown on trees in back and front yards all around the city.

Jum-ba-lie-a = Jambalaya – a rice and seafood and/or sausage “pilaf” type dish.

LOTTABURGER - a hamburger sold at the local 'Frostop' chain. They also sold a 'Birch Beer' which was a root beer--made all the more appetizing in a frozen beer mug.

Hubig's Pie = small fried fruit pie or “pocket”. Pre-dates the McDonald’s type by eons

macaroni = any type of pasta

mynez = mayonaise

Muffaletta = round seeded bread stuffed with meats, cheese, and olive salad = wonderful.

nectar sodas = K & B's concoction of nectar syrup with soda water (that's the 'plain' one). A variation includes a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Nuttin' Onit = A Po-Boy not dressed.

oleo = the pre-marjarine butter substitute. It came with a little cellophane bubble of coloring that you would squeeze into the 'oleo' and mix it up to make it look like butter!

Pet Cream or Pet Milk = Evaporated Milk (regardless of the brand name).

Picawn = pecan

Pickle Po'k or Pickle Meat = Used to season red beans on Mondays.

picked bell peppers = exactly what it sounds like

pickled eggs = pickled hard boiled eggs

po-boy = sandwhich made with New Orleans style 'French Bread' or 'Po-Boy Bread'. Can contain just about anything but is almost always 'dressed'.

Praline (sometimes pronounced “pyreen “or”plyreen = sugar and pecan candy

red drink = a sort of nectar flavored soft drink

Red Gravy = Pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce. It is not = Ragu, it’s much better

Remoulade sauce = eaten with seafood (usually shrimp). There are all sorts of variations, some light pink other golden brown, all good.

Rex Rootbeer Extract = a syrup which was mixed with water.

Roux = flower browned in oil till it’s the color of chocolate. This is the beginning of a gumbo or brown gravy

Sazerac = a cocktail ( I think it originated at the Roosevelt Hotel

Shallots = green onions but only in New Orleans. The root end of a green onion is a white bulb with white roots. About 2/3's of the length is green, going up towards the top. They are about 12' to 14' long. Shallots, on the other hand, have a shape more like a bulb of garlic. They are whitish/tanish in color and are the size of a small lemon. But we still call green onions 'shallots'.

Shoe soles = sweet, large, flat, rolled pastry which resembled the sole of a very large shoe. MacKenzie's had good ones.

Schwaggamans = The grocery store officially named 'Schweggman's' (as a young 'home-maker' it took me a while before I got the spelling right on the check made out to Schweggman's but they they cashed any check which remotely referred to any variation of the Schweggman's spelling at 'Pay to the order of').

Shrimps = shrimp

Soft Drink = cold drink -- No one ever says 'soda', or 'pop', or even 'cola'. It's always, 'You wanna soft drink?'. The only difference was the strawberry flavor (or cherry? whatever...) was always referred to as a 'red drink'.

Sossage = sausage

spagetties = spaghetti. Yats do NOT eat “Pasta”. and 'When ya' wuz too yung ta tawk rite ya sed 'PASKETTIES'!!!'

stuffed militawns = stuffed merlitons

the “blessed trinity” (lower case) a.k.a “seasoning”= onions, garlic, and bell pepper

vegaTIBBLE = vegetable

yellow cheese = Chedder cheese

yellow mustard = plain old American mustard, as opposed to the tastier Creole mustard condiment produced by Zatarain's.

vegaTIBBLE = vegetable.

vinegah = vinegar.

Zapps = Local brand of spicy potatoe chips (including crawfish flavored).

Zatahrans Rewtbeah Seerup =Zatarain's Rootbeer Syrup which
was mixed with water (usually in a pitchah[piture]). Still sold today in some
neighborood groceries.


Cherry Bounce

I got no Schwegmann's
breadcrumbs but I do have some homemade cherry bounce in a K&B whiskey
bottle. Anybody else's family make 'bounce'?
Cherry bounce, huh? I
can remember Granny Latino making that stuff! But, I can't remember the
ingredients. What goes into yours, Doc? C'mon, give us a prescription!

I don't make it myself - I was given this bottle by a now-deceased 'aunt'
(not sure if or how she was really related to us). The cherries were from a wild
cherry tree in her back yard. She would wash and pit them, macerate them with
sugar for at least a day, cover them with whiskey, let that ferment for (I
believe) a couple of weeks, then strain and bottle it. I'll bet somebody else
has a more precise recipe ... or I can check Lafcadio Hearn; it seems like the
sort of thing he might have done in his Creole Cookbook.
pretty potent. I'm not blessed with a wild cherry tree anywhere near my house.
Is there anything else I could substitute?
Potent? Dawlin' ya
ain't got no idea
'till ya husband throws it up on ya new sofa bed.

Needless to say, my memories of cherry bounce and the formula are
not fond.
Not sure if it's 'bounce,' but in his Creole Cookbook,
Lafcadio Hearn has recipes for all kinds of fruit liqueurs. I think raspberries,
storebought cherries, or almost any fragrant fruit would work well. And yes, it
is potent, but it's so sweet that most people can't drink a lot.

P.S. Sorry bout'cha sofa bed, Shirl!
Dats awrite. All things
must come to an end. Da sofa bed went, den da husband went. God is Good.

 Click Here for Tony Charere's Wild Cherry Bounce Recipe 



Pine Aid Meat Recipe (a.k.a. Paneed Meat, Breaded Meat

1 lb. veal roun' 1 cup Itlian bread crums 1 aig
a cuppa milk salt an' peppa Cookin erl

Dunk da aig inna milk and swish
it all up--like ya about ta make a scrammelled aig. Add ya salt an' peppa
to tase and plunk some onna meat too. Put cha erl in a black fryin pan and
stawt heatin it.

Cut da meat in pieces (some people like ta try ta
squish it flat but dat ain't necissary). Dip da meat inna aig wash den
cover it wit da bread crums.

Fry it till it's golden brown. Goes good
with mash patahs an petty pwa peas but some people rather it with macaroni
an cheeze.


Why do we eat red beans on Mondays?

Ya cook ya beans onna Monday cause dat's da day you washed da clothes.
Innee ole days, dis was a BIG job. So, oily inna mawnin ya putcha beans on
da stove and cooked em reall slow. Den ya stawted wittha clothes. Foist ya
hadta wrench em in a tub a suds, den ya ran em through tha' ringa washa,
den you did bofe again. Next ya yadta wrench em in some clean wattah, ring
em out again, an hang em onna line. Dat's watcha did with tha towels,
sheets, socks, and unner ware--ya hungum onna line in da back yawd.

ya gave da beans a stir, added a lil salt awe whatevah dey needed.

Fa da
clothes dat anyone would see, ya' hadta iron em. But foist ya hadta berl
em inna pot on da stove (right nexta da beans) in some stawtch. Den ya
wrenced em out, twisted em up in a shape dat looked kinda like a lil po-boy
and stuck em in da ice box. Man, ahm gettin tired jus thinkin about this an
we're not nearly through yet.

O.K. So den ya got a few of da rolled up
clothes outta da ice box so ya could stawt ya ironin'. But foist ya filled
a Coke bottle up with wattah and put a lil metal spraya dat had a coowk on
it into the top a da bottle. Ya unroll a shirt (awa whatevah), sprinkle it
wit a fine mista wattah, ironed it, and put it onna hanga. Do a few more
shirts, den go check onna beans.

Go inna yawd, take downa sheets an
stuff, fold em, and put em away.

Check da beans.

Iron more

If ya hadda big famly (most people did) all lis took all day.
An nat's why ya cooked ya beans onna Monday. Ya didn' have time to cook
nuthin else.

Crawfish Bisque

Has anybody tawk'd about dere mamma's receipe for crawfish bisque? I
when I get the time and energy. It was an all day affair with
related to us in the kitchen with their aprons on and
contributing their
talent. It makes me weary just thinking about all those
steps of making the
roux to later combine with the tomatoes, cuttin' the
seasoning, boiling the
crawfish, peeling 'em, saving and cleaning the
heads and then stuffing em ta
put em in the pot ta simmer....

I'm going
to take a nap now.

Shuck about a dozen raw ersters (some people call em oystahs). Put a cuppla drops a Lea & Perrins, some Tony's, some gawlic powda, lemon juice, hot sawce, Italyn cheese, an' Italyun bread crumbs on each one of em. Pour on a lil sweet erl, and top em off with a big pat a buttah (not marge).

Put em onna grill and cook em till day nice an brown but not too long awe dey get all dried out.

Dat's it. Tawk about good! An' really easy to do.

My mother used a large can of tomatoe sauce after she seared the meat, which was like a swiss steak, added a little water, cooked slowly, added parley at the end and served it over rice. It was delicious because the tomatoe sauce had the wonderful meat flavor all mixed in. Old St. Roch gal

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