Southern Food Road Tour: Susan Spicer and NOLA Edition

New Orleans, LA – In just two and a half hours, Susan Spicer, one of the most celebrated chefs in the South, is going to personally give me a lesson in how to make biscuits at her new, New-Orleans themed restaurant Rosedale. It’s hard to overstate how excited I am about this brand new development. The photo to the left is priceless: It features the cornmeal madeleine Susan screen-shot-2017-01-15-at-7-20-32-ambrought me in a gesture of southern hospitality with my glass of cab franc. It also depicts the precise moment she realizes that I mean to video our interview.

For a James Beard Award winner she was remarkably sanguine about the whole thing, and we had a great video chat about Southern food at her stunningly beautiful four-star restaurant Bayona.

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Once I turned the camera off we sat there drinking wine and getting to know each other and she’s an absolutely delightful human being, with very specific thoughts on what Southern food is and ought to be.

You may remember I have been asking the “Holodeck” question of what five foods or drinks you could give someone, out of context, to help them understand what Southern food is. Unlike many respondents, who can’t decide between biscuits and cornbread, she was similarly torn, but between rice and grits. She ended up choosing both. (Her favorite rice, she says, is a Louisiana long grain rice called popcorn rice and she specified stone ground grits and gave two local mills she buys from!)

Popcorn Rice

Her other picks were greens, shrimp, pork, ice tea, pecan pie and bread pudding. (As one of the most celebrated chefs in America I cut her some slack on the limit of 5)

I expect to write several more blogs about Louisiana once I get back to Chicago and before I leave for Tasmania at the end of January. While in the state, I went out on a “crawdad combine,” went oystering, leaving out of dock in Port Sulphur, LA, which is WAY down

These are the oysters we harvested to give to Susan Spicer. She texted me later a pic of them on the half shell. She said she took them home to eat with hot sauce, lemon and butter.

south, about 1:10 south of NOLA. In addition to those field trips, by FAR Louisiana has the largest number of foods I never new existed on this trip. My first “five foods” answer in Louisiana, had me saying “huh?” and “what?” after nearly everything the guy said, and not just because he had a spectacular accent. They love to stuff things into other things here; I can see why this is the birthplace of turducken.

Blogging in real time is hard. I’m having to choose between having experiences and writing about them immediately, so I’m going with the former, taking good notes and lots of pics and video and doing what I can along the way. Thanks for reading, by the way. I’m going to blog about this morning’s biscuit lesson, you betcha.

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