2020 and what’s for dinner?

We’re home again, after a wonderful holiday season in New Orleans and Austin.

It’s time to catch our breath and talk about diets.

Oh, dear.

Our son Will mused that his father might have two stomachs, like a cow.  Because my enthusiastic husband never stopped eating for fifteen days.  It was amazing and frightening at the same time.  How does he do it?

Our trip to New Orleans centered around music and food, though Banjo Man went to evening music events mostly on his own while I happily curled up in bed at the hotel.

We took a class at the New Orleans Cooking School with Chef Ricardo, a hilarious and knowledgeable local chef who cooked in many New Orleans restaurants before retiring.


We loved Chef Ricardo.

There were nine of us.  Five cooking stations.  Lots of history about the food of New Orleans.  Champagne, Bloody Mary’s, beer and wine…at 10 AM.  Needless to say, a good time was had by all.


Chef Banjo Man peeling shrimp.

We made gumbo, which was good but I didn’t care for the addition of Cajun Worcestershire sauce.  Beware gumbo recipes that call for it and think long and hard before you dump a capful into your cooking pot.

Here is the best dish I’ve ever eaten in all of my time in New Orleans:


BBQ Shrimp and grits.

And Banjo Man made it!!!!

We also learned how to make crepes and Bananas Foster, but the star of the show was the shrimp.

Before we left New Orleans, we returned to the cooking school’s gift shop where I treated myself to a wooden “roux spoon”, the most expensive spoon I will ever own and which I will have to put in my will so it doesn’t end up in a Salvation Army utensil bin.

Needless to say, I loved the feel of it and how easily it “pushed and pulled” the roux as it cooked.

And then there was this:


Breakfast at Cafe du Monde.

Fortunately we only visited here once.  But it was heavenly.

Our flight to Austin was at 4:00 PM, but we arrived at the brand new airport early in order to enjoy a relaxing lunch of po’ boys and gumbo before getting on the plane.  There were lots of choices for food and all of them tempting.  The new airport is gorgeous, by the way.

And we didn’t stop eating once we landed in Austin, either.  Banjo Man and I cooked shepherd’s pie, Frito Pie (never again!!), beef stew, chicken pesto pasta, Tuscan turkey soup and, of course, gumbo.


The annual holiday gumbo.

I’m not going to talk about the Christmas cookies.  Or special cake.  Or the cinnamon rolls.

I was relieved to have gained no weight at all on our trip, while Banjo Man is still moaning and groaning every time he thinks about eating anything but steamed vegetables.

But it was worth it, because as Chef Ricardo said, “If you’re not gainin’ a pound a day while you’re here, you ain’t doin’ it right!”





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