New Orleans, LA – It's increasingly common for cities to host community-wide dining specials to entice visitors and draw locals out to restaurants during seasonal tourism lulls. Typically structured as limited-time prix fixe dinner deals, these promotions are often called Restaurant Week, and both winter and summer editions have cropped up. We have something like this in New Orleans too, though, as usual, things are a bit different here.
11/21/2009 – Close your eyes and imagine your family's Thanksgiving table. I put good money on it that it includes Louisiana sweet potatoes. Dark orange and full of beta-carotene, we call them yams (from the West African word "djambi" meaning "to eat"). However, they're not really yams. Yams are long, tree-like tubers from Latin America with waxy bark-like skins. Needless to say, I doubt we'll stop calling them yams anytime soon. This time of year, they're great, they're everywhere and we're seeing more white sweet potatoes than ever before.
Lafayette, LA – As Louisiana recipes are passed down through the generations, it's common for them to acquire family stories and lore. The same thing sometimes happens to cookware, especially the seasoned cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens in which we cook our gumbos, stews and jambalayas.
New Orleans, LA – Can I share with you a little secret? Farmers markets may operate for only a few hours a week in each location. What you may not realize is that the relationships established beneath the tents and umbrellas carry on long past the closing bell. One example of this is the relationship between Poplarville's J&D Blueberry Farm and Hubig's Pies. Our city's beloved century long Simon Hubig Pie Company is owned by the Bowman and Ramsey families who when not frying shop at markets. This summer, they were in search of lots of frozen blueberries for their blueberry pie.
New Orleans – By 4:30 in the morning, Al Sunseri is usually performing his pre-dawn stake out near the corner of Iberville and Bourbon streets in the French Quarter. He's an owner of P & J Oyster Co., and he's looking for a parking spot for his delivery truck. It's important to get into position before the beer vans arrive to restock the many nearby bars because P&J workers have their own heavy lifting ahead of them at this particular corner.
New Orleans, LA – If you're like me, you've started your Saturday morning early shopping for the pick of the crop at our region's farmers markets only to head back home in time to brew a pot of coffee and chicory, enjoyed with Isabel's tamales. I then prepare Saturday lunch featuring Mississippi chevre and and cucumbers from La Rose. Sound familiar? The only sounds I've not yet mentioned are the ones on my radio: The Splendid Table on WWNO, 89.9 FM. In the world of public markets, we rely heavily upon the transfer of knowledge we gain from our public radio.