My friend James Fox-Smith of the very fine magazine Country Roads asked me for a short list of five things I missed the most about home during the many years I lived away from south Louisiana. Here’s what I told him. Excerpt:
Once, heating my lunch up in a newsroom cafeteria, a black co-worker from Indiana grabbed me by the arm. ”Are those greens?” she said, amazed. “Yes,” I said, “mustards.” “I didn’t know white people ate those!” she responded. And then we had a conversation about greens culture and the South. This made me reflect later on how being a Southerner is a cultural bond that transcends racial division. And it made me reflect on how, with the possible exception of his jambalaya, no meal made me happier when I came home than a mess of my dad’s mustards or turnips, and a wedge of my mom’s cornbread to sop up the pot liquor.