New Orleans, Louisiana. Never been, yet.
My love of the city stems from experiencing some of its dishes like gumbo, Cajun catfish, po’ boys, beignets, and red beans and rice. Plus, it helps that the city birthed Jazz. Finally, the people seem awesome. Knowing I could meet great people, feast on food while listening to a jazz band, and feel the warm breeze on my face if I visited New Orleans makes my heart hurt.
Until that day comes along, I will continue to pick up good recipes and learn how to make them right at home while I listen to some jazz on Pandora. My husband devours Cajun and Creole fare as often as I’ll make it; both of us are on the NOLA train.
Last week, I pull up my favorite Red Beans and Rice recipe complete with Creole Boiled Rice. I chop and measure and combine my ingredients, inhaling the heavenly vapors rising from my pan. I reach the point where the mixture needs to simmer for a few hours, so I clean up a few things and turn off the kitchen light, heading upstairs for an afternoon nap.
I fall into bed with thoughts of dinner cooking downstairs. My dog leaps onto the bed, and after circling a few times, settles in next to me. We both fall asleep fast.
I wake up when my phone rings. As I answer the call, my nose picks up the scent of my red beans cooking down. I finish the call, walking downstairs to check on my meal. I’m not in the kitchen yet, and I can tell: something’s gone wrong. The scent turned more acrid than savory.
I lean over the pan, reaching up to flick on the stove light. Before the light appears, my low vision scans the contents of the pan, registering more brown than red. In the glare of the light, the crime is confirmed: red beans, burnt. All of my liquid cooked off, and the dry pan sizzled my beans to crispy pockets of yuck.
Like a culinary EMT, I pour a cup of liquid back into the pan, hoping somehow to revive my meal. I fail to stabilize my victim. I sigh as I realize I can’t even donate this to the dog.
I put off telling my husband the news. In a karmic change of luck, he calls and says he will be grabbing a bite to eat with the guys after work. Saved!
There will be another chance for red beans and rice. Next time, I will be setting an alarm.