The Southern Big Three: Food, Friends and God

Here we are in the heart of Texas, and I believe I can safely say this trip is destined to euphorically circle around food, friends, and God, not a bad combination, any sensible person is bound to agree. Southern cooking has to be some of the finest in the world, but, hear me out, it no doubt sinks bottom-ward as to anyone’s scale of healthy, nutritious meals. Fried, sauced, buttered, oiled and sweetened, served in gargantuan portions to intimate groups of jocular companions or to battalions of gustatory gourmands, southern food is delectable.

Take yesterday. Jerry’s nephew Ted, and Ted’s charming wife, Karen (tell you more of them later) picked us up at our hotel and we drove together to Lufkin where they had to visit someone in the hospital.

After the hospital visit: “How does Ralph and Kacoos sound for lunch?”

Sounded excellent to Jerry and me. Ralph and Kacoos is a highly regarded sea food place that I believe originated in New Orleans, although I’m not dsc_0019positive of that–need to do a bit of research. At any rate, the first time I indulged in a Ralph and Kacoos was at their place that is part of the Bourbon Street scene. Their menu is so large, the dishes so unfamiliar to me that I had a hard time making up my mind yesterday, but finally decided on Shrimp Louis…but I wanted to taste alligator.

“Could I order just one piece of fried alligator,” I asked the waitress.

“Well,” she hesitated, and I could tell mine was an unusual request.

“Bring a full appetizer order of alligator,” Ted told her, thereby settling the issue.

…the issue was not totally settled, for in minutes a plate full of fried alligator morsels appeared at the table, and someone had to eat them, did they not? It was I who first dined of the alligator. I chewed down, lifted my head and saw that my compadres had their eyes fixed on me…waiting, I supposed for the verdict.

“Delicious,” I declared. “Love it.” The taste is mild, slightly chewy, but in all honesty, since my alligator had been subjected to a dunk in a frying batter, the predominate taste was of fry! Told you that’s how they do it here.

The best food on the lunch table was Jerry’s Crawfish Bisque, quite possibly the finest taste my mouth has ever savored. Googled the term quickly for you and found this definition:

Perhaps the grandest dish in all of Cajun and Creole cuisine. This spicy, hearty bisque is sometimes served as thin as a soup, sometimes even thicker than an étouffée — adjust the consistency to suit your taste. What makes it unique among all bisques in the culinary world is the addition of the stuffed crawfish heads (shells, actually) with crawfish dressing … heavenly.

Take a look at how they make the stuffing for the crawfish heads:

For the stuffed crawfish heads:

* 1/4 cup oil
* 1/2 cup flour
* 2 medium onions, finely minced
* 1 large bell pepper, finely minced
* 3/4 cup stock or water
* 2 teaspoons salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
* 2 large eggs, well beaten
* 2 cups plain French bread crumbs
* 1/4 cup chopped parsley
* 1/4 cup minced green onions with tops
* 4 tablespoons butter, melted
* 5 dozen cleaned crawfish heads
* Flour for dusting

Make a roux with the oil and flour. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until tender, stirring constantly. Mince or grind the remaining half of the crawfish tails and add to the roux-onion mixture. Add the remaining crawfish fat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Source: Crayfish Bisque

Back at our hotel as we prepared to go to our room, Ted and Karen reminded us they and their children would, after church, be hosting a supper for us at their home. The pièce de résistance would be Crawfish Etoufee, prepared by Stephanie.

Believe it or not, at 11:00 last night we were diving into a scrumptious Crawfish Etouffee….lots of other delectables I just won’t mention, except for the finish of strawberry shortcake.

Here at the end of this piece, I’m a little ashamed to see that out of the Southern Big Three of Food, Friends and God, I chose to write first of the least important, food. For shame. 😦

10 thoughts on “The Southern Big Three: Food, Friends and God

  1. dean

    Ohhhhh, nottin finer dan boudain and crackers!!! Hot sauce dripping!!! Ummm!!

    That’s one dish we did not have, although I heard Jerry once mention he would like some.


  2. I laughed at your last statement: “I’m a little ashamed to see that out of the Southern Big Three of Food, Friends and God, I chose to write first of the least important, food. For shame.”

    I don’t eat a lot of Texas food, but I DO enjoy it: Texas Toast, Texas Dirt Cake, Texas Fries, etc., etc., etc. That crawfish etouffee (French for stuffed) sounds good. I’d be willing to try anything once—even alligator. Well . . . maybe.


  3. Esther

    Sis. Buxton, I think Mississippi out does Texas on the “fried” thing. Everything here is fried. Fried, fried, fried……….fried pickels, fried rabbit, fried tomatoes, everything. Guess that’s why Mississippi is the “fattest” state in the Union. Ha.


  4. #1-You are brave to try alligator. I just couldn’t do it. Even though I try most anything.

    #2-Fried anything gives me a tummy ache for hours. Once in a great while I will suffer for my taste bud’s sake.
    A restaurant here in Gilroy, Ninja Sushi, has the most delicious tempura. At least I’m eating veggies. 😉
    Oh, and deep friend artichoke hearts at the Artichoke Festival in Castroville are worth the suffering. Hey, veggies again. 🙂

    #3-I’m glad I live in California. Don’t care for gravy, bell peppers, crawfish.
    Oh, but, I do LOVE food and I LOVE to cook.

    #4-I think eating like you describe is okay, once in a while. But, if I did every day…well, let’s just say I wouldn’t fit into my clothes. 🙂

    #5-I agree: Food, Friends, God – some of the best things in life.

    Thanks for sharing. Love ya.


  5. Shirley,
    Anyone who has ever read anything on your blog knows that God is the center of your life.

    To your Big Three (food, friends, and God), I would add only “art.” Now some would look down their noses and call much southern art, “folk art.” And yes, it’s created by folk – southern folks – but “fine art” isn’t any finer, except in the eyes of snobs. Actually, the south is a work of art itself.

    But Texas isn’t the real south. LOL (Please note: This is a joke, not something to attack me about. No one’s a better Christian/atheist/ Jew/Muslim because he/she does/doesn’t live in/some place other than Texas/any place on earth. 🙂 )


  6. Pingback: Topics about Food and Recipes » Archive » The Southern Big Three: BFood/B, Friends and God

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