Greetings from Abbeville, LA

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Avery Island: home of Tabasco sauce and the Jungle Gardens

Greetings from Abbeville, LA where we just celebrated New Year’s Eve in a very comfortable and relaxing rental. It was a bit touch and go to begin with as our GPS first delivered us to the wrong house. We stumbled about looking for a key before Corey went into the backyard and fun a whole mess of bullet casings. Time to go. The next place looked promising (and was in fact the right home) but we were a bit confused by the police cruiser parked out back. I wondered if 1) I stumbled into a crime scene and 2) if I had a good alibi. Again I could not find the key so I knocked on the door. Nothing. Then I tried to turn the knob and was surprised when the door opened. Now I wondered if maybe there was a napping police officer inside. Trying my best not to get shot, I yelled “tourist from Chicago! Just looking for the home I rented!” Complete silence and I thought about stepping into the house before I heard a dog barking from inside. I ran back to the car and cursed all home rentals. Eventually the mystery was solved (the rental was actually toward the rear of the property). Later we met the our two hosts and found them to be incredibly kind and spirited. He probably would have shot to wound not kill me.

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Jungle Gardens include many Asian plants and artifacts including this thousand year old Buddha.

Abbeville, by the way, is the home base for Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup which is supposedly a staple of southern cooking. A Steen’s recipe book was placed in our kitchen. Flipping through I came to a chapter titled, “Why Pure Cane Syrup Is Necessary In The Diet.” From this chapter I read, “Most mothers are natural worriers about whether they are providing the proper diet for their offspring. Their worries could be put to rest, however, with a daily serving of pure cane syrup…” It goes on to describe how children in Southern Louisiana often snack after school on “syrup sandwiches.” And, of course, “for countless healthy individuals, ‘syrup sopping,’ is the only kind of desert worth mentioning” which consists of “pouring a good quantity of syrup into your plate after the meal is finished and sopping it up with hot, crusty French bread.”  There was a bottle of the stuff in our kitchen so I drizzled a bit on some bread. Not bad. Not bad at all.

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New Years Eve was also the last night of Hanukah. Over the last week we lit candles at Christmas Eve dinner, hotels in southern Illinois and Mississippi and, of course, the Big Easy.

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