There are very few things in life that sustain my existence. The love of God, the love of my family, and my dad's Etoufee (for you non-cajuns this is pronounced eh-too-fay). Dad prepares this life-sustaining creole dish a few times a year and I barely make it from one pot to the next.
The production of making Etoufee is quite an ordeal and requires a full staff of family members to pull the whole thing off. I mean you can make it by yourself if you want to but it isn't nearly as fun.
See, see how much fun it is.
The most important element in Etoufee is the roux (pronounce roo). Dad has figured out how to make the perfect roux with the least amount of effort. Add one cup of oil and one cup of flour to an iron skillet and stick that baby in the OVEN instead of standing over a hot stove for hours. If you want all the specific details of this recipe you'll have to ask him.
Chopping food in my mother's kitchen is another of my favorite things. It's amazing the things we find to talk about while cooking and drinking iced tea. Plus it always smells so lovely and it just feels good to be with family preparing a meal together.
So us girls chop and chop.
And here is the master chef himself, drinking iced tea and waiting. See, he monitors the roux and then after the women have spent hours preparing all the other ingredients, he throws it all in a pot and takes the credit. Not that I'm complaining.
and so we chop
and chop. We didn't have any shrimp or crawfish for this pot of Etoufee, so we settled for chicken and sausage.
and finally start the process of combining all these magical ingredients. This is bell pepper, onion and celery AKA holy trinity. I can't reveal all the spices or I'd have to kill you.
I'll pause while you wipe the drool off your chin. I so wish you could smell this stuff, or better yet, taste it.
Another staple for Etoufee nights, red wine.
Pretty soon the whole family starts showing up for the feast. This is one of my favorite parts. Oh and if you're wondering why Kyle is on crutches... he thought he was superman and was bringing in Granna's tropical plants for the winter and LIFTED them instead of scooting or rolling them and really hurt his back. He is better now.
This is how we serve people on the farm... buffet style. Fix your plate and go sit down.
It is at this point when Eddie puts on his most pleading pitiful face. With this many people around, he's sure to get a few morsels of that glorious food. OH PLEASE...could YOU resist??
Everybody's bowls get filled, and now my mouth is watering again.
I wish I could rewind the clock and eat this again.
I love my family and I love when we all get to be together.
Side note: This is my Mamaw's head. This is what Mamaw's head looks like on Saturday night. For as long as I can remember, she has gone through this little ritual of rolling her hair in those weird bristly rollers on Saturday nights. She is getting older now and suffering from dementia but those rollers still go in her hair and, one things for sure, the party is never boring when Mamaw is there.