In support of the most soulful city in the whole US of A on this Superbowl weekend – a favorite NOLA memory.
For certain personality types, the generous piles of powdered sugar that cover the beignets served at the famous Café du Monde in the French Quarter are one of life’s little temptations that must be indulged. I don’t mean the sensuous joy of eating the fried dough goodness but rather, the childlike glee that comes with a food group that is perfectly suited to war.
Recently, on a trip to New Orleans with my two teenage kids, I found this confectionery call to arms too tempting to resist. While visiting the Café one evening to try these pillows of luscious pastry, practically drowning in powdered sugar, I quickly identified the opportunity to sink us all into dessert depravity. When I could no longer restrain my evil impulse (and after eating my beignets), I fired the first shot – well, blow. Discreetly raising my plate to mouth-level, I quickly locked onto my target and blew the piles of left-over sugar with the force of Old Faithful. In a matter of seconds, my son Cooper was covered – brown sweater, face and hair all generously coated with the white substance.
As anticipated, his response was swift and immediate. But – like a routine
straight out of a Three Stooges film, his whoosh of white powder missed me completely and instead, covered our beloved, innocent Juliette – a French exchange student who was living with us for the year and who, in her typical manner, was completely unaware of the goings on around her. For Cooper, this was a grave mistake. Juliette is French. Beignets – all pastries – are held in the highest esteem, right alongside Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité. This was a blatant act of provocation for Juliette, compounded by the fact that her much beloved navy blue “I Love NY” sweatshirt was now defiled with white dust (not to mention her face and hair). Thus, the Battle of the Beignets had crossed international borders, and Juliette’s war cry was audible within a five-mile radius.
Thankfully, due to finite sugar reserves, the battle was quick, relatively controlled, as battles go, and huge fun. I am happy to report no patrons (or beignets) were harmed in the melée, although there were some terrified stares.
And as we slunk out of the restaurant into the warm night, leaving a trail of glowing white footprints across Jackson Square, we knew without uttering a word that in this small act of civil disobedience, a bond was forever forged between us, proving there are certain experiences in life that should never be influenced by good judgement.