Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Recipe

It seems like everyone and their mother are bringing out recipe books. Actors, singers, dancers, all seem to think everyone wants to entertain guests like they do, and feed their children healthy organic meals from vegetables raised in their gardens.

When I was in New Orleans a while ago, I stood in the long line of people waiting to buy their beignets from Cafe Du Monde. The weather was pleasant, the line was long, and people were friendly. The woman in front of me spoke to her daughter, Deja, and son Jovan, who took off every now and then to chase each other up and down a wall, and into the crowds around Jackson Square. When they disappeared she watched out for them, visibly relieved when they returned to check back with her in the line. She told them not to go too far, and asked them whether they remembered the movie they had seen the night before, in which a slasher kidnapped kids. "There's crazy people out there" she said to them, as she reasoned with them to remain close enough that she could keep her eye on them.

I told her daughter that I had worked with a girl called Deja. She told me she is 10 - soon to be 11, in July. Her brother Jovan, told me he'd be eight in July. Funny, I said, I also have a birthday in July. Jovan told me his is on July 7th, then Deja told me her's is July 22nd, same as mine. Mom said she is waiting to see the price of an order of beignets now. When she was little her parents brought her here and it was only one dollar. She is from New Orleans, but they don't come around here that often. She knows prices must have gone up a lot.

"When we was little," she told me, "we made beignets ourselves. I tell you how to make them," she said to me, "it's easy."

"Go to a store and get yourself a packet of biscuit mix. (That is what I think she said.) Then buy a packet of sugar - that white fine sugar. Roll the mix into balls. Take a coke bottle and put it into the middle of the balls, to make holes in them. Throw some handfuls of lard or grease into a pan. It should get nice and hot, then fry them up. When they be nice and crisp put them in a brown paper bag with that white sugar, and shake 'em up real good. There, you got yourself beignets."

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