Rolling into Carnival Season By Marcelle Bienvenu Here in Louisiana, we barely have time to take down the red and green Christmas decorations before putting up the purple, green and gold colors of Carnival season. On January 12 (otherwise known as Twelfth Night), just about everyone is lining up to purchase their King Cakes. Rather than queuing up, I find it much easier to order my King Cakes online at cajungrocer.com where they come in a varied assortment of flavors. Not only should you order one or more for your festivities, but you should also order some to send to […]

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By Marcelle Bienvenu THE DUCKS ARE FLYING My duck-hunting friends are getting antsy for the season to arrive. They’ve been busy preparing for what I believe is one of men’s favorite times of the year. Shotguns have been cleaned and oiled, and probably a small fortune has been spent on shells. The duck blinds have been reworked and stand ready for that first cold front to blow in from the west. Decoys have been retrieved from storage to be marked or tagged. Now it’s just a matter of time before they can go forth to their camps, get up before […]

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The Fourth of July, possibly the quintessential American celebration and the only big holiday of the summer season, is a grand excuse for a party with family and friends. My husband really gets into the spirit. He puts out not one or two, but three American flags on various flagpoles around the yard. Small American flags on sticks are jabbed into flowerpots, window boxes, and in the flower bed that borders the driveway. Red, white and blue bunting adorns our pier and party barge. Mounds of red, white and blue napkins and paper plates are always at the ready. He […]

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November/December 2012

Now that Halloween is behind us, we move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas. My family is already planning the menus for the holiday dinners. This Thanksgiving, the Bienvenu/Landry group (about 40 of us) is heading to the Atchafalaya Basin for a day at “the camp.” Since we have to get to the camp by boat, the teenagers are working out a ferry schedule. Two boats will carry the food. And from what I can understand, downed tree limbs (compliments of Hurricane Isaac) have been chopped up for a huge bonfire. The menu, well I’m already stuffed just reading what’s going […]

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May/June 2012

Although summer will not officially arrive until June, the pleasantly warm weather is ideal for outdoor dining. Crawfish, Louisiana’s freshwater crustaceans, are in season and plentiful. The bays along coastal Louisiana, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, are teeming with shrimp, crabs, speckled trout, redfish and flounder. It’s time for fish-fries, seafood boils and other casual, kick-back, leisurely meals. Let’s begin with crabs. Lump crabmeat is not always necessary to the dish. The jumbo lump or the regular lump, both the most expensive, is what I want when preparing a luxurious salad or when it’s going to be the […]

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March/April 2012

The season of Lent has arrived. And I’m betting that there are many who partied much too hard during the Carnival season who welcome the season of repentance, prayer and sacrifice with open arms. Well, maybe not open arms, but at least might relish the thought of six weeks of Lent as a time to have a spiritual renewal of the soul, not to mention some recuperation of the body. In the not too distant past, meals during Lent were not only meatless, they were simple, albeit nourishing, and because there were certain days of fasting, when snacks between meals […]

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February/March 2012

During the Carnival season, I always somehow end up with bits and pieces of King Cake. Either I eat too much of a good thing or that last piece or two lingers around the kitchen and goes stale. Since I hate to waste, I began storing those leftovers in a big plastic storage bag in hopes that I would find a use for them. Lo and behold, a friend of mine sent me a couple of newspaper clippings on how to use those chunks of sweet cakes—make bread pudding! Now, why didn’t I think of that before? It really doesn’t […]

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January/February 2012

The Christmas decorations are stored and replaced with Carnival flags, beads and masks. Yes, it is Carnival time in Louisiana! This year Mardi Gras falls on February 21 allowing plenty of time for balls, parades, brunches and a whole lot of frivolity. If I were you, I would order my King Cakes NOW so you will be ready to party hearty. I never can decide what flavor I want so I just order ALL of them. You will also need Carnival-themed napkins, cups, and of course, lots of beads to give as favors at whatever kind of party you’ll be […]

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December/January 2011-2012

If you haven’t made your Christmas shopping list, then you had better get going. No, I’m not talking about your gift list, I’m thinking about your FOOD shopping list. Here is my list and all you have to do is go to www.cajungrocer.com and place your order NOW. 1. Turduckens (several) 2. Boudin (get all kinds) 3. Gulf Shrimp (order big and small – great for all kinds of party offerings) 4. Andouille sausage (for gumbos, jambalayas or throwing on the grill) 5. Stuffed breads (great for parties AND for giving) 6. Crawfish pies, meat pies and crawfish pies (ideal […]

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November/December 2011

Rat-a-tat! The pecans falling on the tin roof of my office sounds like gunfire. The squirrels are having a hey-day! I spent the better part of an afternoon crawling on the ground filling my bucket with Louisiana’s favorite nut while shooing away the squirrels. Here in the South, we are quite fortunate to have the pecan, sometimes called the Crown Prince of the Nut Kingdom and God’s gift to the South due to its versatility and the amount that is harvested—some 200,000,000 pounds average per year. This Native American nut is a member of the hickory family, and has a […]

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