|Our Lady of Rocheblave and Our Lady of Dourgenois|
|Breakfast in New Orleans|
Sometimes, we go to Sammy's Food Service and Deli on Elysian Fields Avenue for lunch. Guy Fieri, who has a show on the Food Network, autographed a poster that hang's in Sammy's dining room. According to Guy Fieri, Sammy's serves some of the finest food in all of American's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He also signed a poster at Katie's, which is on North Telemachus Street, where we also often go for lunch.
Chefs who host cooking shows love visiting New Orleans. Everyone else who loves to eat loves New Orleans. It's like loving life.
|Sitting room in Le Pelican Suite|
When I was much younger, my father liked to watch cooking shows. We all have our vices. This was his. Back in those days, cooking shows were mainly on PBS. It was considered educational television rather than entertaining television. No company would think of buying an ad to support a cooking show-- not many people watched them back in the day.
One of my father's favorite shows was hosted by Justin Wilson. My father had a deep love for New Orleans. He went to school here and, though he didn't revisit the city as often as he may have liked, it made an impression on him that couldn't be erased. Justin Wilson was a Cajun, not a Creole. Up north in Connecticut, it was close enough. Here is a sample of Justin Wilson cooking gumbo:
My father also liked Jeff Smith who was the Frugal Gourmet on PBS. Mr. Smith was as fussy as Mr. Wilson was relaxed. In the following sample, the Frugal Gourmet cooks Creole. You can see the difference in the two approaches.
Both these cooks give a lesson on New Orleans cooking culture. Justin Wilson just is who he is. He's hard to understand but you can't help but like him. That's the way most people are in New Orleans. Creole cooking is similar to Cajun cooking, but they are distinctly different. Jeff Smith is more analytical, approaching the city from the outside and falling in love in the process. It happens all the time. Spend enough time in New Orleans and you will take away a bellyful of appreciation.
The other day, the New Orleans Advocate, the newspaper I read before guests show up in the morning, published an article about the houses on Esplanade Avenue. Ours is mentioned in the middle, in paragraph 11, the way we are smack in the middle of Esplanade Avenue. The writer made a small mistake; our house and its immediate neighbors were built in 1883, not in the 1890s. Nobody expects precision in New Orleans. Like adding a teaspoon of hot sauce to gumbo, close is good enough to taste.
A slide show accompanies the article, but I'm not entirely pleased by the photo they used of our house. Let's take another look at this picture that I took the other day after the race. I like it:
|2200 block of Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans|
What's the difference between Cajun and Creole? It is a matter of degree. Cajuns live in the country. They live in the swamp. They paddle pirogues on the bayous. Creoles live in the city. They are urban and urbane. Each have very different accents and different colloquialisms. We'll be exploring those things another day. In the meantime, think about visiting New Orleans to discover a world very different from where you live. It's very nice here. It is unfamiliar but very welcoming. No matter where you go, it is very hard to have a bad meal.
Emeril Legasse, who is from Fall River, Massachusetts of all places, is as New Orleans as anyone else. He knows his way around a Creole kitchen. Think about him what you will, but he knows New Orleans even better than Guy Fieri does.
It's the difference between someone who lives in New Orleans and someone who lives in the rest of Louisiana. New Orleans is a unique world all its own.
A votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.