(images here)


In attendance: BYAFGA, Black Monday, Madras, Whisky Daisy, Bijou, Dark and Stormy.

The ladies were instructed to wear something that reminded them of their favorite relative, to bring a small something for the altar that would represent them, and something to represent an intention they had.

We discussed voodoo's focus on honoring the ancestors. We created an ancestor altar with items to represent our favorite relatives as well as ourselves and with flowers, spirit water, and candles to attract the ancestors and ask for their blessing.

As everyone was arriving, we discussed the items we had chosen to wear and told entertaining stories about the relatives we wanted to honor.

Then it was time for the first cocktail---

1 dash Bitters
0.25 tsp. Sugar
1 oz. Water
1.5 oz. Anisette
(this is not the exact recipe I used, but it is close. The one I used came from a tiny little book called Famous New Orleans Cocktails and How to Mix Them, which I can not find now, unfortunately!)

B Monday: Mmm…satanic good'n plenties! I've had faux absinthe before but this brand is the smoothest I've had. 4.5
M: there couldn't be a drink that reminds me more of my ancestors! Anisette every year with my Pap! 4.5
WD: Tasty! But certainly a sipper. Interesting, my mom(favorite female relative) LOVES licorice! 3.5
Bijou: I've said it before but it bears repeating-I am a softie for anything anise. It completes me. And, oh what a pleasant sipper. 4.5
BYAFGA: despite my fear of anisette, I think this is lovely. Especially the cloudiness in the blue glass. 4
D&S: Hot Licorice! Looks fabu in the glass. 5 for presentation, 3.5 for taste.

NOTE: the anisette I used is Granier Mon Pastis---a middle shelf French brand with a very exciting bottle. The anisette drinkers among us said it was very good.

We discussed a little business, none of which really bears repeating at this late date. We also sampled the Muffaletta Sandwich, and olive salad. Then we tried-

1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar)
3 - 4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 ounces rye whiskey (most New Orleans bars use Old Overholt)
1/4 teaspoon Herbsaint, a New Orleans brand of anise liqueur
(You may use Pernod, or some other pastis or absinthe substitute)
Strip of lemon peel

(this is the recipe I used, except that I did not have Peychaud's bitters so I substituted regular old Angustora, and I used the same Mon Pastis as in the last drink. I DID however manage to find a bottle of Old Overholt, so it was as authentic as you can get in Pittsburgh, I believe)

D&S: Yowza! More anise…not a personal fave, but nicely blended. 3
Bijou: Anise with rye-something I've never tried until now. Hmmm. Good. 4
WD:I LOVE whisky-duh. Lovely. This works well. 4
BYAFGA: again, I am enjoying whisky-the lemon really helps. But it is too strong for a regular thing. 3.5
B Monday: Dry&strong-the lemon definintely makes it. 3.5

After we finished the Sazeracs we talked a bit about Marie Laveau and other famous New Orleans women. (see links at the end) One of the women I was especially excited to learn about was Madame Langlois, who defacto started the first cooking school in America. (she was the housekeeper of the Governor of LA, and when the women of the territory rose up because their stores of food from France had run out, she taught them how to cook using regional ingredients.)
This proved a nice segue into dinner:

Seafood and Sausage Gumbo
Okra and tomatoes

After eating and chatting we got to work on our CRAFT PROJECTS---making our own puppets. In the voodoo religion, puppets are used to represent people when spells are cast. We made puppets to represent ourselves, and filled them with things to bring about what we wished for. Some of us became so engrossed that all conversation stopped! The puppets all turned out gorgeous, with sequins and feathers and beads and jewels. Each lady used tiny toys and different herbs and spices, along with the item they had brought with them, to tell the ancestors what they wanted to come true in the following year.
We became so engrossed in the crafts project, in fact, that I completely spaced the fact that I had planned to make Bananas Foster for dessert.

I did, however, remember to present the final drink of the evening:

1-1/2 ounces gin
2 drops orange flower water
2 egg whites
5 teaspoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 ounces half and half
1 drop vanilla extract
Soda water
1/2 cup ice coarsely cracked

BYAFGA: this is heaven. 5555555
B Monday: creamy without being thick, sweet without being syrupy. 4.0
D&S: ramos, venga me! I likey! Tastes like dessert! 5
M: cream-a-licious! 4
Bijou: Smoo-v. I like but in small amounts. I couldn't drink more than a couple-haa! 3.75

(WD does not seem to have rated the ramos gin fizz. I know she drank it, but she was awfully busy stitching up the sides of her puppet….)

The ladies all finished up their puppets and went home with good intentions for the next year. I cleaned up and said goodnight to the ancestors, and went to bed.
Another successful LUPEC evening!

Respectfully submitted almost a year after the fact!
Brandy "You're a Fine Girl" Alexander


To learn more about Cajun and Creole Food, and Cocktails:

To learn more about Famous Louisiana Women:
http://www.sniksnak.com/sw/women.html (beware of the annoying music and bad advertising!!!)

To learn more about Marie Laveau and Voodoo:

To learn more about Madame Langlois, and Cajun cooking:

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