I suppose a lot of people would say their lives revolve around their children, their work, their pursuit of happiness in the consumer-driven capitalist free market of 21st century America…
But not mine.
We have a saying in New Orleans: Other people eat to live, but we live to eat.
Yes, I'm talking about food.
I know, I know, I've blogged about this before. But food is where it's at.
I had to go down to the CBD today for a meeting. (That's Central Business District for my friends in Bunkie.) I had wanted to catch lunch at a Japanese place called Hoyanora, but there was a line almost out the door. This puzzles me because you would think they could turn tables over faster in a sushi restaurant. I mean, it's not like they have to waste a lot of time cooking the food...
Anyway, I ended up at an old-fashioned lunch counter place called Gregory's at Baronne and Poydras. Slanted floors, mismatched tables and chairs, painted veneer paneled walls, old sun-bleached and water-stained posters of the Saints and Tulane football, a crust-covered bottle of Crystal hot sauce on every table--man, what a find!
About half and half business people in suits and construction workers covered in dust. Two waitresses for about twenty tables and not a busboy in sight. Labor shortages continue to plague this town.
No, I did not see Anderson Cooper, but I could easily imagine him in his safari shirt, melodramatically intoning about the desperation of thousands of displaced New Orleanians having to suffer in cities like Houston, cities full of sandwich shops but not one measly po-boy in sight, then biting dramatically into a dripping roast beef and asking someone off-camera for a napkin.
I was in a hurry, so I ordered a chicken salad on toast, dressed, and a coke. The waitress scribbled on a blank white pad. "Any fries?" Not today, ma'am.
When she brought the drink, I noticed it had a polar bear on the can. "Season's Greetings 2005." Hmmm. There was fizz, so I did not complain.
The sandwich came soon after, cut into sailboats and topped with a pickle slice. She also left the check, which said, "CHS TST A/W." I looked at it and wondered if I left her a nice tip, would she be able to buy some vowels?
All in all, a good lunch. A glimpse at life in the business district, amidst the tall office buildings that look like the tall office buildings in every other city in America. Well, except for the Hibernia Bank Building. Wait, no, the Capitol One building.
Heading back to the office I saw a large banner proclaiming "Now Open" at the corner of Carrollton and Earhart. Yes, it's finally here: Popeye's!
Once a week I take a turn at cooking supper. I think I know what’s for dinner this week.
Speaking of which, my Precious Daughter wanted a turn cooking dinner. At 9 almost 10 years old, the only things she can cook are a bowl of cereal and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But my Darling Wife thought it was time to get her started in the kitchen.
I came home to an apartment filled with good smells. “What is that wonderful smell?” I asked. “Garlic Lime Chicken.”
And let me tell you, it was good! The girl cooked up a real winner. With the vegetables prepared by my Darling Wife, this was one of the best meals we’ve had since coming back to New Orleans after Katrina.
I think the chef enjoyed her cooking most of all, taking seconds and thirds. No room for desert. Not tonight.
No matter what goes on at work, no matter what travails we endure, no matter where we call home, suppertime is always a happy time for our family. The food we feast on is the nourishment of love and the nutrition of encouragement and support. That's the food we enjoy the most.
We have a saying in New Orleans: Bon appétit!