GRAND MARAIS, La. --- The Grand Marais Mardi Gras Association will hold its third annual Southern Soul Food Showdown on Nov. 9, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mon Ami in Grand Marais, 7304 E. Hwy. 90, Jeanerette, La. The event features a soul food cooking competition, live music and vendors.
"Soul food brings together families, so we thought a soul food cooking competition would be perfect for our fundraiser, because residents of Grand Marais are like a close-knit family," said Angela Broussard, event chairperson. "Many Iberia Parish residents have their own interpretation of the true meaning of soul food. Most agree it is a comfort food that nourishes the body and soul. It is a food that evokes memories of a table piled with good home cooking and family and friends gathered round."
The pots start simmering at 6 a.m. and the judging begins at 11 a.m. The public can savor a variety of dishes, including fried food; meat, rice and gravy; greens, pork delicacies and desserts. At 3 p.m. the association will distribute awards for Best Overall Fried; Best Overall Greens; Best Overall Meat, Rice & Gravy; Best Pork Delicacy; and Open Dish.
Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie will perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors will sell T-shirts, crafts and beverages. Bring your lawn chair, but please leave outside drinks, ice chests and pets at home.
"It will be a fabulous day for everyone to enjoy," Broussard said. "It's all about good food, good music, good people and good times."
A little Background
Soul food is believed to have originated during slavery. Slave owners fed their captive workers as cheaply as possible, often with leftover and waste foods from the plantation, forcing them to get creative with the ingredients they had at hand.
In slave households, vegetables consisted of turnip tops, beets and dandelions. Soon, slaves were cooking with new types of greens, such as collards, mustard and pokeweed. Cooks added onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaf as flavor enhancers.
They also developed recipes with lard, cornmeal and offal--- discarded cuts of meat, such as pig's feet, ham hocks, tripe and small intestines. African-Americans adopted the name "Chitlins"--- a small intestine dish--- through European slave owners. It originally designated a dish for the poor in medieval England.
Some slaves supplemented their meager diets by gardening small plots, fishing and hunting. Foods such as raccoon, squirrel, opossum, turtle and rabbit were, until the 1950's, very common fares among the Southern, rural African-American population.
For information on the Southern Soul Food Showdown, call Angela Broussard at 337-365-8185 or 337-380-3424, and visit www.facebook.com/monami.grandmarais