After relaxing in New Orleans, it is finally time to get back on the road. We have finished the Natchez Trace and are about as far south as we can make it in Louisiana. It’s time to make like a gold miner and head west.
Driving through a particularly swampy portion of Louisiana, we saw a sign to look out for bears. I laughed “a bear crossing!” Why would there be a bear here? We are used to bears in Glacier or some other mountainous region. Yet, no sooner did the guffaw pass my lips than my hubris checked me. Their, waddling out of the trees was a bear. A swamp bear! It might be the only sizable wildlife we see along this stretch, but I saw a swamp bear!
Moving on, we passed through a town that swore up and down that it had the best boudin and cracklings. As someone unfamiliar with the dish, we bit.
Cracklings are fried pork skin akin to pork rinds. They were chopped into greasy bitesized rectangles. When asked how much we wanted, we looked at each other questioningly. The woman behind the counter clarified: “in pounds.” I cautiously suggested a quarter of a pound, unsure if that was a lot of cracklings or a little. It was a lot of cracklings for us, at least. Eating cracklings is like eating bacon flavored popcorn. I am unaware of any redeeming health benefits to cracklings.
Boudin is a sausage of pork shoulder, liver, rice, and spices. It is a relic of the early French settlers who worked to waste nothing. But, personally, I’ll stick with the gumbo next time. Organ meat is an acquired taste that I’m not yet interested in refining. I don’t understand how a region that produces something as wonderful as gumbo could also produce this terror. I’ll stick with gumbo.