i'm not sure if it's the gut-wrenching deepwater horizon oil spill that has finally shown its ugly face on my beloved florida coastline or if it's something else altogether (age?, embracing parenthood?, potentially impending move to residency?) , but the spirit of home, of the gulf coast, has crept into my mind and i can't shake it. i belong to the third coast...i love sitting on the beach from morning until sunset, soaking up the warmth of the sun on the white sands, ending my day with an abita beer and a bowl full of boiled shrimp. these days, more than most, i feel a pull to be reconnected with my roots...
so, when i happened upon the cookbook, chef john folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine, my heart leapt. the lagniappe list in the back of this cookbook is what really whets my appetite. the list is dedicated to restauranteurs and entrepreneurs past and present who have blazed the southern food trail. i'm not sure when i'll be in louisiana long enough to familiarize myself with all of these gourmands, but hopefully it will happen sooner than later; it's in my third coast blood.
for those of you who are not from around my "parts" and may not be familiar with the word lagniappe, (pronounced LAN-yap), it is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th bagel when buying a dozen), or more broadly, "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure." the word is chiefly used in the gulf coast, especially louisiana.
mark twain writes about the word in a chapter on new orleans in Life on the Mississippi (1883). he states "we picked up one excellent word — a word worth travelling to new orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word...when you are invited to drink, and this does occur now and then in New Orleans — and you say, "What, again? — no, I've had enough;" the other party says, "But just this one time more — this is for lagniappe." "
some of the below items i am intimately familiar with (abita brewing company, original creole pralines, cafe du monde, central grocery, gambino's bakery, popeye's chicken and biscuits, zatarain's...to name a few), the others i am dying to get to know:
Abita Brewing Company • Acme Oyster House • Amato's Winery • Antoine's Restaurant • Arnaud's Restaurant • Aunt Sally's • Original Creole Pralines • Barq's • Baumer Foods • Madame Bégué • John Besh • Paul Blangé • Blue Runner Foods • Bon Ton Cafe • Brennan's Restaurant • Bruce Foods • Nathaniel Burton • Café Du Monde • Cajun Power Sauce • Camellia Grill • Caribbean Room at the Pontchartrain Hotel • Casa de Sue Winery • Casamento's Restaurant • Central Grocery • Leah Chase of Dooky Chase Restaurant • Chester's Cypress Inn • Willy Coln • Christian's Restaurant • Commander's Palace Restaurant • Community Coffee Company • Al Copeland • Corinne Dunbar's Restaurant • The Court of Two Sisters • Crescent City Farmers Market • Dixie Brewing Company • Don's Seafood and Steak House • Elmer Candy Corporation • Feliciana Cellars • Ruth Fertel of Ruth's Chris Steak House • Chef John Folse & Company • Chef John Folse Culinary Institute • Goffredo Fraccaro • Galatoire's Restaurant • Gambino's Bakery • Haydel's Bakery • Lafcadio Hearn • Hubig's Pies • Jack Sabin's Restaurant • Stanley Jackson • Jacques-Imo's Cafe • Jax Brewery • Anne Kearney • Kentwood Springs • Chris Kerageorgiou of La Provence • Kleinpeter Farms Dairy • Emeril Lagasse • Langenstein's Supermarket • Lasyone's Meat Pie Kitchen and Restaurant • G.H. Leidenheimer Baking Company • Le Jeune's Bakery • Warren Leruth of LeRuth's Restaurant • Austin Leslie • Louisiana Cavier Company • Mandina's Restaurant • Maylie's Restaurant • Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant • "Diamond Jim" Moran • Mosca's • Mother's Restaurant • P&J Oyster Company • The Palace Café • Pascal's Manale Restaurant • Alex Patout • Pontchartrain Vineyards • Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits • Prejean's Restaurant • Gunter Preuss of Broussard's Restaurant • Paul Prudhomme • Reily Foods Company • Michael Roussel • Savoie's Sausage and Food Products • Sazerac Bar at the Fairmont Hotel • Solari's • Susan Spicer of Bayona • C.S. Steen Syrup Mill • Tabasco • Tony Chachere's Creole Foods • Tujague's Restaurant • Uglesich Restaurant and Bar • The Village • Justin Wilson • Yellow Bowl Restaurant • Zapp's Potato Chip Company • Zatarain's • Zuppardo's Economical Supermarket
photo from the pensacola news jounal; lagniappe definition and mark twain quote from wikipedia