Both of my grandmothers cooked...constantly. My maternal grandmother, Vivian, worked as a lunch lady for most of her life in Lafayette Parish. Although “lunch lady” may conjure up thoughts of a mole ridden Chris Farley slinging sloppy joes, my grandmother was/is the real deal; and I took pride in knowing what she did was important. It was also nice to get an extra roll on my tray every now and then. She still cooks daily; feeding anyone who walks into her house--at any hour they walk in--and still insists on cooking two different meats per meal. Chicken and fresh sausage. Rabbit and pork. Turtle and whatever my grandfather brought home that day.
My paternal grandmother, Rosella, worked in the homes of some of the most influential people in Lafayette. She not only cooked amazing spreads of dishes that I can still taste three years after her passing, but she knew how to make even the simplest of foods, a can of tuna fish, come alive and be stuck in my mind forever. Again, I am proud of what my grandmother did, taking care of people and cooking for families. There’s a vulnerability when you cook for someone. You put yourself out there for everyone to see and judge. My appreciation for the culinary artists out there was born from my life experiences and instilled in me by those before me.