Dear Smiley: It saddened me to read of the closing of the old Yellow Bowl in Jeanerette.
Our youngest grandson, Connor Stagg, is now almost 17. When he was a pre-schooler, Annette and I started a tradition. Every summer we took him out to eat at a Louisiana restaurant.
The first place we took him was the Yellow Bowl.
With all the great choices on the menu, Connor chose to eat at the buffet. His Nana took him, and he came back with a plate piled high with rice and gravy, with a side of fried chicken.
Nana asked him, “How is your rice and gravy, Connor?”
He thought for a while, and then answered, “Well, the gravy is good, but not as good as Paw Paw’s.”
Everyone in the café looked at me and smiled. Was I embarrassed? Swollen with pride would be a better description.
Dear Smiley: A couple of years ago, two friends and I were returning to The Woodlands after having played in our annual fraternity reunion golf tournament at The Bluffs in St. Francisville.
After passing Lafayette, we made the obligatory turn at the Scott exit in order to load up on boudin from Best Stop Supermarket.
While waiting for our order to be filled, my friend Rusty (an LSU alum who hails from Florida) picked up an unfamiliar looking package from the meat case and asked me how to pronounce the word C-H-A-U-D-I-N, and to explain to him just what the heck it was.
After giving him my best effort at the pronunciation, I told him if he did not know what it was, he was probably much better off not knowing!
DENNIS D. RITTER JR.
The Woodlands, Texas
Dear Dennis: It’s also called ponce. It’s a pig stomach stuffed with a rice dressing. It’s kind of like boudin on steroids.
Dear Smiley: My ex-mother-in-law, who is Japanese, ate crabs using chopsticks, which amazed me. She was so proficient I would put her in a race with anyone.
Savannah Lakes Village, South Carolina
Wrong size oyster
Dear Smiley: My family and I traveled to Houma, to visit my wife’s parents. As I pulled into the driveway I saw my father-in-law in the backyard opening a sack of oysters.
My son Paul, who was 4 at the time, and I joined him around the washtub. Of course, he and I began slurping oysters off the half shell.
After observing us a few minutes Paul said, “Paw Paw, can I have one?”
My father-in-law searched and found the largest oyster. Paul put it in his mouth, took a bite, spit it out, and gave it back, saying, “Here, Paw Paw, it don’t fit.”
He then ran into the house.
Paul is now 60, and has never put another raw oyster in his mouth.
DEACON NOLEN LeBLANC
Dear Smiley: When a friend from Norway came to visit New Orleans, he said he was looking forward to trying crawfish, Southern style.
He had it once in a restaurant in Norway, but it was very expensive and a typical serving was three crawfish on a bed of lettuce.
We had a crawfish boil in his honor. A sack of mudbugs was cooked and soaked in a 100-gallon pot. He was astounded to see so many.
We showed him how to suck the heads and peel the tails. After the first one he remarked there was a lot of pepper in there. Nonetheless, he went on to demolish several dozen.
Before going home he said he wanted to replicate this in Norway someday. Good luck! Seems our friend will be up a fjord without a paddle.
Dear Marlene: You’ve been waiting a long time to use that last line, haven’t you?