Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fabulous Louisiana Gas Station/Convenient Store Food

Yesterday my husband and I went to Shop Rite a gas station/convenience store in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on Keyser Avenue, just to eat lunch.  Yes, that is what I said.  For some reason a phenomenon exists here in the South, or at least particularly in Louisiana where food reigns; "fast food" you can get at gas station/convenience stores is sometimes better than similar items in much, much more expensive restaurants in the same area.

For instance, husband and I ordered only ONE shrimp basket--to share.  That translates into one large cardboard "basket" loaded with fresh french fries topped with a ton of medium small (battered and fried) shrimp hot out of the fryer.  They were fresh, scathingly hot, cooked to perfection and were served with a sauce like I've never before tasted.  We had to have more of that!  The only other "food" items we had were soft drinks and the total bill was less than $10. Including tax.  The shrimp basket cost $5.99.  And we ate.  And ate.  And ate. And got full and could eat no more and the basket still had more fries and shrimp.

We have been to Lasyone's, an old restaurant in the heart of Natchitoches, known especially for their Natchitoches meat pies and ordered shrimp po'boys, for more than twice the cost, with less than half the fried shrimp that wasn't even thoroughly cooked--even after sending it back to the kitchen for a re-do!

I spoke with one of the ladies working the "lunch counter" at the Bourbon Street Deli (I think that's what the name is) in Shop Rite, to find out exactly what their "sauce" was called.  It reminded me of remoulade sauce (a mayonnaise based sauce hot with pepper, horseradish and other scrumptious seasonings that I really like.)  She said it was their homemade tarter sauce.  After eating theirs, I might just have to change my mind about liking tarter sauce. (Before yesterday, I pretty much avoided tarter sauce.)

Another gas station/convenience store on the outskirts of Natchitoches serves fried catfish, Natchitoches meat pies and boudin balls that are all very yummy.  YES, it is all fried food and filled, undoubtedly, with a multitude of calories but oh, my!  It is sooooo good. And fresh. And cheap.  So.  There you have it!  Great food at a great price available at gas stations.  Who'd a thunk it?!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Little Ridiculous

Ridiculous, I know.  It's in the 30s outside.  Been in the low 40s and now slipping into the 30s before it drops down to the 20s late tonight.  During this past summer we had almost 3 months of temperatures 100 degrees F or higher.  It was a beast of a summer.  Normal (and you know that there is no such monster, right?) for my memory of normal summer weather--a few years back anyway--was summers that broke into the 90s for highs, but not much above 95, and only a few days here and there.  The nights might not get below 75 and we would have rain.  And thunder.  And lightening.  And more rain. It would be steamy and hot. But not this past summer.  For a little bit, I thought I was in Tucson, AZ it was so hot and devoid of ANY rain during the summer this year.

Well, all that has changed.  Although we had like a day of 80 degrees for a high and a low of 70 just a week, maybe week and a half ago, our high yesterday was 48.  This morning, when I got up about 6 am, it was 42.  At 7 or 8 am it was 38.  And drizzling.  We had 4 inches of rain over Saturday and Sunday.  That's the most rain we've seen in a 36 hour period for a long time!  And we accumulated 6 inches of rain from the middle to end of November, so 10 inches of rain in about 3 weeks!  We're delighted!  We've prayed for rain.  People have boat ramps over dry grassy areas since the summer.  Well, until it rained recently.  Now the earth is wet, but no standing water.  No lake water up close enough to touch the pilings of their boat ramps.

So, I--and many others--are very grateful for the rain.  And I shouldn't be grousing, certainly, but I'm cold.

No.  It makes no sense to be cold in a house that has a thermostat that reads 73 degrees.  Especially doesn't make sense when one is wearing several layers of clothing, one of which is a warm scarf wrapped around her neck along with a hoody.  (No.  I don't at this time have said hoody's hood upon my head, but I'm considering it.)  There's a fire blazing in the fireplace, too, but unless I'm sitting or standing next to it, I'm miserably cold.

I have no right to complain, however.  I know some people are struggling to stay warm with only space heaters--or less.  It's supposed to get down to 28 degrees tonight.  I pray they will huddle under lots of blankets and quilts like I plan to do in a few minutes.  I don't understand my being so cold when the thermostat reads 73.  I wonder about what the temperature would be at which I would turn into a block of ice?  What would I do if I were ever in Alaska or Siberia in the winter?  I think I'm beginning to feel a little warmer considering the alternatives.  But it still seems ridiculous to feel so cold in my current circumstances.  Perhaps it's because I don't eat whale blubber.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas is getting closer.  I'm not quite ready.  We'll actually be celebrating twice this year since our family is rather scattered now.  Our two children that live closest will come the weekend before Christmas Eve to celebrate with us, and so, hopefully, will my husband's brother.  Last year we were so blessed to have all children and grandchildren and brother-in-law for Christmas.  It was wonderful.

A few days after that celebration, husband and I will be heading out to see youngest daughter, her husband and their almost 2 year old daughter.  Christmas will be pretty cool with a little one that will be older enough to view Christmas this year a little differently than last year.  Her birthday is close on the heels of Christmas.  However . . . her little brother's "birth"-day may be only a couple of days after Christmas . . . if the Mommy gets her wish!

We will be missing those precious three grandchildren that graced us with their presence for two years--along with precious daughter--their Mom!  That makes it really hard this year.  The house, as my husband said to a friend of ours at Church when asked if he'd gotten used to the quiet at the house yet--6 months later:  "No!  I thought I would, but it's way too quiet around the house now!  I miss them so much."

Well, things change--always.  Change is good, though it can be challenging for any number of reasons.

I pray that each and every one in my family and you and yours will be able to enjoy the blessings of Christmas now and throughout this season AND throughout the coming year.  May we each be ever grateful for each and every blessing our loving Heavenly Father bestows upon us each and every day, giving thanks to Him, and our Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, by giving loving service to those in need as the Lord directs us.  May the Light of Christ visit and linger in each home and each heart is my humble prayer and Christmas wish this year!