Sunday, February 17, 2013

Doin' Grandma proud!


Tonight, I attempted to channel my Cajun grandmother, and successfully produced a jambalaya that is so good I nearly took the whole pot to the neighbors and force fed them because, by the gods, it was too damn good for one household.

Things I learned during this venture:

1) Stick to what I know, which means screw recipes and measuring! I only halfway listened to a recipe for an etouffee once, and it very nearly became an unnatural disaster that probably would've eaten the whole town had I not managed to salvage it through wits, My Favorite Pot, and a flail. This time, I glanced at some recipes to get an idea of what people tend to put in jambalaya and let my instincts do the rest, as with everything else I cook. (I only measure for baking. You HAVE to measure for baking; otherwise, it becomes comedy.) 

2) Because of the above rule, I have an inability to cook a little of anything. I am now absolutely certain this is why Grandma had THREE freezers full of fish, meat, etouffee, more etouffee, gumbo, and whatever the hell that was that we poked once a year and left an offering of catfish just to make sure it wasn't going to eat the house.

3) Cajun cooking might not be good for your cholesterol or your waistline, but it can be made cheaply, is damn good, and can feed an army. Hell, I'm pretty certain if they had dropped Grandma into a starving country with her favorite pot (ALWAYS use your favorite pot), she could feed everyone within a fifty mile radius with a bag of rice, some scavenged plants, and an unfortunate buffalo she took down with her stirrin' spoon.

4) Much like when I decided to relive my childhood and was forever ruined to never again microwave a bag of popcorn (stove top popcorn FTW), I will never buy that instant boxed crap again.
I might try my hand at rice dressing (also known as dirty rice in some parts) soon. The problem with that is did Grandma use chicken livers, gizzards, or both, and the fact I get squigged out every time I think of them.  Sometimes, it's just best to not know what she used.


_________________
Cajun cooking comes from a long established philosophy of "you can eat anyt'ing dat don' eat you first" and very little wasn't used on an animal.  Not much has changed.  Which must explain why someone back in the day looked at a huge, ferocious reptile with more teeth than sense and thought, "I wonda how dat taste?" But, hey, bless them for it. Gator is gooood.

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