Saturday, August 4, 2007

Boudin is my madeleine

I have been hearing the praises of the boudin at Jerry Lee's Kwik Stop besung in dulcet tones for many a season, so Maya and I took an overlong drive out to get some, and will be sampling their po-folk rice 'n' pork sausage splendor around my friend's pool this afternoon. According to The Boudin Link, Jerry Lee's is THE place on our side of the river to get the stuff. I've had some, according to them, B- boudin from M&S in Lafayette and it was pretty freaking good, so this A- dope from Jerry Lee's should be the bomb.

Boudin is a tricky sell, because it gets lumped into the head cheese/scrapple category of marginal, regional cuisines - poor folk food made of leftover scraps with filler, but I have come to see boudin as a superior product, surpassing both andouille and tasso (the two local varieties of sausage) that make for good seasoning but lousy stand-alone eating.

I used to get boudin from this little gas station in Houma across the street from the donut shop I worked at in high school. This unfriendly Cajun woman would bring it in from home and let the oversized links rotate in the hot dog rotator so the casing would get perfectly crispy and the inside was nearly emulsified into a paste you would squeeze out and dawb with a little mustard.

I'd sit there there staring at the donut shop across the street, eating this glorious mess over a paper towel, watching the husband of one of the women working there circle the parking lot on his bike. According to lore, he was the third brother in a family that she had married. Divorced the eldest, out lived the middle and hooked up with Jr., who inherited the family no-tell motel on the outskirt of town. He used to sit inside and drink coffee all during her shift to keep an eye on her, in case she try something with some man in the back of the donut shop.

We considered telling him that he should just keep any immediate male relatives out, and he'd be fine, but she came in with a black eye one time "because I was talkin' to you", so I decided to keep my nose out of things. He shortly got banned from the store for being in there drunk, and if I may stereotype - nobody knows how to be publicly wronged like a wronged Cajun. Just mention the ban on publicly speaking French in the 1950's in Lafayette and you will get a but a taste of their righteous indignation. So he would make the perimeter the parking lot on his bike, dutifully informing all in earshot that it was public property and he had a right to be there, and either mutter or yell obscenities through the cheap tinted film of the giant windows, until her shift was over, and they would bike back down the highway to flickering neon of their motel.


  1. river??? what river? hey, d'ya know where it starts???

    I just read a piece where Calvin Trillin went on and on about boudin, but I still had no idea as to the execution. I have always thought it was a casserole. like a gratin, you know? but anything coming from that place I would expect to be the finest of its variety, for real. a. strip mall. b. "kwik." it's the out-of-town version of "any food sold from under the L tracks is banging."

  2. boudin means a number of things I think, but here it's a mix of pork, spices and rice packed into sausage casing (usually but not always natural casing) that is either grilled of fried and cut into pieces, or sometime breaded and deep fried as boudin balls.

    Its looser than Italian sausage, so its kinda oogy to some folks, but its the bomb.

    and yes, your analogy fits as to where one gets their boudin.

    This was totally A- boudin too. is to be trusted

  3. You grew up in Houma? I would have preferred to work at the donut shop. I heart Mary Lee Donuts.

  4. re natalie: this was the tastee donuts at the corner of Tunnel blvd and barrow st, circa 1986

  5. We go to Jerry Lee's pretty often, so Wendy can get this boudin po-boy they serve with a slice of american cheese melted on top. I'm not sure, but I think she puts mustard on it, too.

    Try their beef jerky, too... and you might want to slap somebody's momma.

    We've never seen any domestic violence go down, though.

    As for what Boudin is... I would describe it as something similar to dirty rice stuffed in a casing... not at all a casserole but I suppose somebody somewhere makes a boudin casserole. mmmm casserole. I guess you could undo the casing, spread out the boudin mixture, cover with ritz crackers and american cheese... bake at 350 for 30 minutes and serve. mmmm.