Posts Tagged With: MaBee


My son and daughter-in-law are hosting Christmas this year and Laurie decided she wanted to do a Cajun Christmas for a change. I decided to make boudin sausage (pronounced bow-dan) and gumbo. I asked her to come  over to help me make boudin,  a sausage I fell in love with when Jim and I spent time in Cajun country in southern Louisiana. Our first encounter was at Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, a tavern that is only open on Sundays. We got there early, at 7:30 because there are very few seats. The band starts about 9:00 and plays non-stop until five. The band doesn’t take breaks, they are on radio while playing and one member at a time gets up to have bite to eat or use the bathroom. A couple came in with a paper bag of boudin and another of chitlins to share.  So, at 7:30 in the morning, we ate boudin for breakfast. Man, that stuff is good.

In Calvin Trillin’s words:

“I figure that about 80 percent of the boudin purchased in Louisiana is consumed before the purchaser has left the parking lot, and most of the rest is polished off in the car. In other words, Cajun boudin not only doesn’t get outside the state; it usually doesn’t even get home.”

– Calvin Trillin, from his essay, “The Missing Links: In Praise of the Cajun Foodstuff That Doesn’t Get Around.”

I was given a cookbook, MaBee, What Ya Cooking?  by Janet Theriot in 2010. She had a recipe for boudin.  Her cookbook is homestyle cooking with not exactly precise measurements as in:  “One Boston butt pork roast or hogs head, salt , red and black pepper, 1 cup chopped parsley, 1 cup of chopped green onions and about 5 cups of rice. Cut roast in big chuncks and cover with water and boil until really tender.

I decided to look on-line and get more precise directions and we came up with a recipe for 6 lbs of meat to 21 cups of rice, basically three batches, with the onions and parsley and a number of spices and went to work.

The first batch, we kept tasting and tasting. To heck with the casings, Laurie, Ken,  the boys and I, ate the first batch for dinner with a salad. We put the steaks Ken was going to barbeque back in the fridge. The stuff is scrumptious.

It is a job that dirties every dish in the cupboard, but worth the work. We didn’t have a sausage stuffer and used a pastry tube to load the casings by hand.

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They are variable sizes and uneven looking, and we didn’t actually taste one of sausages since we at the first batch.

I was a bit daunted by cooking 21 cups of rice, but it is easy in a roasting pan in the oven and turned out just perfect. Now, the rest of the story. Laurie ground both batches of meat and I put in one batch of seven cups of rice. One of those easy miss-steps with two cooks in the kitchen. I have no doubt it will taste good with half the rice. It may be a bit spicier. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I wanted to find the origin of boudin so I looked it up on-line. Historian Bob Carriker puts it like this:

The French eat a sausage called “boudin blanc” (white boudin) which is similar to Cajun boudin almost solely through its nomenclature; for French boudin blanc is a highly perishable sausage made with pork, chicken, and/or veal mixed with milk, cognac, and spices. …its flavor bears no resemblance to the link you will sink your teeth into in Louisiana. When the French Acadians (today’s Cajuns) made their way out of Nova Scotia, after having been expelled by the British in 1755, they adapted their traditions and culture to their new surroundings. So, when they set out to make use of a freshly butchered hog, it wouldn’t have been such a stretch for them to mix the pork scraps with the seasonings at hand, push it into the hog’s intestines and call it what they had always called such a sausage: boudin. . Later, once large-scale rice production began in Louisiana at the end of the nineteenth century, cooks added rice to boudin for filler and flavor. Today in places like St. Martinville, at La Grande Boucherie des Cajuns (a communal hog butchering) held the Sunday before Mardi Gras, the age old practice of making boudin is embraced and the custom and community spirit continues to be passed from one generation to the next.

I am so glad to have discovered this special treat and thankful to have MaBee’s cookbook. I’ll be using her ettouffee recipe and a real original called shrimp puppies. I can hardly wait.  You can read more about boudin and find out where to order boudin on this web page.

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We had two things in mind for yesterday’s adventures.  We first headed for the small town of Gueydan’s local museum. Gueydan is known as the Duck Capital of America and we were hoping to see ducks in and around the area as we went.  I guess it is fitting that we saw duck decoys in the little Gueydan  Museum run by Jane Hair.

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Ms. Jane Hair also hosted a Spirit of the Swamp art contest for local artists. This was my favorite.

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The item I had never seen before, which Il always look for, was this musical instrument. Simple in its construction. Almost makes me think I could make one myself. We’ve mentioned before what  a friendly place this area is, and we met a couple at the museum we had met previously in Lake Charles during Mardi Gras. They all assured us that it was possible to see millions of ducks in the area.

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The brochure on Gueydan also mentioned Ellis Stansel’s Gourmet Rice, that the locals call popcorn rice. Sounded intriguing and Jane called to see if we could tour their facility. She gave us directions and off we went.

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This is a photo of a picture of Ellis Stansel stapling closed a bag of rice.At one time everything was done by hand. Now, the process is all automated.

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The person who gives tours was not available, but Macy, a young woman employee, let us look around and sent us home with a bag of gourmet rice. It is the odor when cooking that gives it its nickname of popcorn rice because it smells so much like popcorn. The picture shows the many products  they sell. About a 1,000 pounds a day.

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Stansel grows crawfish in the rice fields as well. The little red caps of crawfish baskets show above the water.

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As we drove around the back roads, it was pretty obvious why this is the duck capital of the world. The many rice farms, and swampy bottom land around the area attracts those millions of birds, with good food.

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The birds fly when disturbed and circle then return to eating. What a site to see. At one farm, the tractor was moving through the water and the birds were moving ahead of the tractor to eat something from the disturbed mud.

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Some would have more white than black birds.

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A closer looks and the birds are not ducks at all. They are ibis’. Ducks come at a different time of year, apparently.

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We saw huge numbers of birds flying in formation over the vast rice fields. The curved beaks are Ibis’.

Mark and Marlene

We returned to the American Legion for a nightcap and met this very adventurous retired educator, Marlene and her husband Mark. We talked to a whole new crowd from the day before and some of those we met earlier. Chad, Julia, Norman, Bob, Moose…I don’t remember everyone’s name. We were told you have to go to the  Red Rose Bar. They cook a dinner for everybody on Wednesdays. We drove behind Chad and Julia.

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She introduced us to Delta, the owner of the Red Rose. Her husband liked roses.DSC03200 (Copy)

Miss Janet Theriot and her husband. Janet is known as MaBee.

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She gave me an autographed copy of her cookbook.




Tina. I met such strong, interesting, independent women.

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And their men. Before the evening was over, we lite-weights had to leave. Jim fades about seven p.m.

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These friendly folks sent us home with dinner to go. Roasted tongue with just a hint of Cajun seasonings. Excellent.

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