Story telling is as much a part of the south as hot weather and our lazy drawl when we talk. No surprise that I became a writer. My family on both sides started out visiting over food, and ended with stories being swapped after supper. Sitting on the front porch or around the kitchen table listening to all kinds of tales. Love it.
Ca c'est bon!
Louisiana is known for food and legends. It's no wonder that the movie industry took root here long ago and continues to flourish. With all of the history, culture, and lore, Louisiana is fertile ground. Our warm weather and the good just add to the attraction.
I'm an impatient cook. Truth is I don't like cooking all that much, certainly nothing with a two page list of ingredients and instructions. And honestly I've burned up quite a a lot of food and pots because I got distracted writing or researching a topic for a book while breakfast, lunch or dinner was simmering on the stove. But yesterday I finally remembered to soak the red beans so I could cook them today. Here is my pot once they were done. Hmm, came out perfect.
Old south Louisiana food tip: we traditionally soak red beans overnight. I know, I know. In these modern times many say it's simply unnecessary. Yet the excellent cooks in my family agreed that the beans cook up more tender when soaked. who am I to buck tradition? In Louisiana, especially south Louisiana, the beans should be thick and creamy. Serve red beans in a watery state and, well, you'll get a "Bless your heart" for sure. So to get them right, you saute onions, garlic, celery with sausage first. I like andouille sausage a lot. Pour in the rinsed beans, then add water and seasonings. Cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Voila! You've got authentic down home Louisiana style red beans, cher.
Since I grew up in south Louisiana, readers get a generous helping of southern culture in my books. I mention the food as well. What's cookin' is key to a Louisiana setting I think. You can't get a true flavor of life down here unless in at least some dialog a character or two refers to a meal, or a scene takes place in the kitchen. Don't believe me? Just come down and see don't you hear a lot of food conversation!