Food Creates Community
For years, I worked in the French Quarter and have great memories of what we referred to as “Orphans” holidays. This was when all of your friends and coworkers who may not have had family or had family that was to far away, would come together to celebrate togetherness. The regional American foods that would find their way onto the table were truly spectacular…Creole and Cajun specialties were de rigueur, treats from the Northeast and Eastern Seaboard were prevalent, and international specialties were shared by those who made their way to New Orleans from abroad. We still practice this ritual with our new friends here in Austin, who may not be “orphans”, but with kids and jobs and just life in general, may not have the time or resources to travel to be with family, and it is still just as special. It is not uncommon to have 30-40 guests milling about the house on Thanksgiving Day, collecting up everyone’s dining room chairs to make one giant table out in the lawn, so we can all sit together and create community. If you find yourself in the dilemma of not being able to travel for the holiday, scrounge up some friends with dining room chairs and recipes to share and go crazy, you may be surprised at the memories you create… New Orleans style!