Thanks to this man, chef John Folse, I escaped Toronto's relentless winter for a few days. I met John on his radio show - we talked about fat, then he invited me back and we talked odd bits. We hit it off and he asked me to come to Louisiana to teach a class and lecture about odd bits at his culinary college at Nicholls State University. I said yes without a moment's hesitation.
It was so wonderful to see green grass, magnolia trees in bloom and to smell the earth. Not only was the weather warmer, so are the people. Friendly, always greeting you and unfailingly polite. What a difference good weather and good manners make to your opinion of a place.
My first dinner was at John's restaurant in New Orleans, R'evolution and, of course I had to try the bone marrow.
The house made salumi was also delicious, and is on display in the restaurant. I tasted the hog's head cheese, which has more the texture of rillettes than the head cheese I'm used to. I discovered, this was the norm as I ate my way through various renditions over the following days.
The next day I was at the school convincing the students of the delights of cooking with brains, heart, oxtail and testicles. There I met Nathan who makes the salumi at R'evolution, and is committed to using the whole animal. The students were enthusiastic and interested and I know I expanded their horizons, and even some of the faculty members, as to what is edible and delicious in an animal.
I'd been to New Orleans before, but that was all I'd seen of the state. I was to discover, thanks to John and his right hand Michaela, that Louisiana is so much more..... posts to follow.