A colorful poster with the title “The Seasons of Louisiana” found on the Louisiana Travel website, depicts not the weather cycles in our state, but more so periods of time when we experience the food and festivities found in Louisiana. Seasons described in this brightly colored, circular diagram include crab, shrimp, oyster, Mardi Gras, snowball, tail-gaiting, and crawfish season. In every category, the months during which each occurs are listed, along with the area of the state where one can enjoy the tasty offerings it bears. Of note under crab season, Seafood Connection in New Iberia is listed as one of the places where this seafood delicacy can be enjoyed.
Finding ourselves in the midst of Mardi Gras season, with local Krewes celebrating royalty in glittery balls, and revelers sharing in the recent excitement of the hugely successful Bayou Mardi Gras Association parade, food and drink fit for a king becomes an indispensable part of the celebrations. King cake is a must, but other savory Cajun offerings, such as boudin and cracklins, are sure to be found.
One such beverage which I had the pleasure of sampling recently was a homemade version of Baileys Irish Cream, an after-dinner Irish cream liqueur. It was made by Mary Ubinas-Dahlquist. Mary and her husband David came to Cajun country from Des Moines, Iowa, after Hurricane Katrina. David’s work in the state was tracing and identifying all the waterways and byways and securing signages for those designated as scenic byways. Mary worked as a program manager in various state agencies and community colleges. Upon arriving in New Iberia, and in David’s work with The Bayou Teche Project, they fell in love with Acadiana and its people. They now embrace the parties and fun-loving spirit of South Louisiana while treating guests to their delicious homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Pat Kahle, Executive Director of The Shadows on the Teche, also came to Acadiana from out of state. Growing up in Pennsylvania, and with a recent Graduate Degree from a university in Williamsburg, Virginia, she fell in love with the history and unique culture of the area and accepted a job at The Shadows in 1983. There she learned of another beverage, the Old Fashioned, that had a long tradition of being the signature drink served at all parties held at The Shadows. Two prominent and respected attorneys in the community, Jacob Landry Sr. and his brother, Alfred “Smitty” Landry Sr., both now deceased, are credited with this long-standing tradition. After young Weeks Hall, the last owner of The Shadows, returned to the home from art studies in Paris, France, in 1922, he set about restoring the mansion to its former glory as when it was built by David Weeks in the 1830’s. In more recent years, Mr. Smitty Landry Sr. enlisted the assistance of friend Allen Gosnell in preparing the drink for large parties. Having bonded over ULL baseball games, when Allen would bring Mr. Smitty and Mr. Al LaSalle to view the games in his box at the stadium, Allen was only too happy to assist in this endeavor. The tradition continues, as Pat Kahle found it established when she arrived in 1983, that the Old Fashioned is still the drink of choice served at The Shadows’ parties today, and a basic recipe can be found in The Shadows on the Teche Cookbooks.
As Mardi Gras festivities continue you may want to try one of these traditional recipes yourself, and as the saying goes, “Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler”.
The following recipe for homemade Baileys is from Mary Ubinas-Dahlquist.
One must note that if consuming raw eggs, pasteurized eggs which have been kept in the refrigerator are recommended. Infants, children, older adults, pregnant women and those with a compromised immune system should avoid eating raw eggs.
1 14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 pint Half and Half
1 cup whiskey
1/3 cup rum (either dark or light run will work)
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tsp. chocolate syrup
Mix all together well, refrigerate.
Serve over ice.
CATHERINE WATTIGNY embraces the “joire de vivre” as a wife, mother and grandmother, inspired by her prior nursing experience with a new focus on good mental health for all.