How many university students does it take…

Food-trading: one of the greatest college inventions of all time. One person cooks, lots of people eat. I think that economic specialization probably started when some matrons got together and thought, “you know what? if you chopped all my onions with yours, and I cooked two rabbits at the same time…”

Last night was my turn to cook for 04 Albany Park, and I was asked to cook something “with that spice in it.” The request came from James, and “that spice” is Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, of which I brought two shakers in order to make it through a semester of British food.

With the help of Tony’s own recipe section, Amelia (a first-year from NJ), Julianne (her visiting friend) and I planned out an authentic Louisiana dinner: Crawfish Etouffee followed by Pecan Pralines, substituting butter for margarine where necessary.

I did not expect the evening to turn into a tutorial on pronunciation. However, some clarification is in order. Follow closely, please:

crawfish (‘kro-“fish): unfortunately and mistakenly called crayfish by a vast majority of the world’s population, including Scottish fish markets. Retch!

pecan (pi-‘kŠn): No, not PEE-can. That’s just gross. And wrong.

praline (‘prŠ-“lEn): In order to salvage crawfish and pecan, I eventually gave up to Julianne on praline , which I believe, might more clearly be spelled with a w (“prawline“) like prawns. Prawns are what the Scottish call shrimp, which I chose not to throw a fuss about. I don’t like shrimp (or prawns) that much, anyway.

Pictures Below!

The group: James and Jerome, the flatmates who eventually took over the cooking and dishwashing due to American ineptitude; Amelia and Julianne, praline-makers; Sandy, drink-provider and garlic-mincer; Dave, etouffee-eater; and myself, bankroller and manager (entailing nothing but adding spice to crawfish and watching everyone else do the work).

The Prawline Bakers:

Crawfish Etoufee and Pecan Pralines 002.jpg

Jerome, sauteing expert:

Crawfish Etoufee and Pecan Pralines 004.jpg

James, English cook and selfless servant:

Crawfish Etoufee and Pecan Pralines 005.jpg

After only one frantic phone call (Hey Dad, is this stuff sopposed to thicken, or what?) grub was on, and good. I counted – three people’s noses ran.

Crawfish Etoufee and Pecan Pralines 008.jpg

Sandy, looking what most of us felt post-etouffee and prawlines:

Crawfish Etoufee and Pecan Pralines 016.jpg

Jambalaya next month, anybody?

11 Replies to “How many university students does it take…”

  1. The etouffee even has the right color!! I think you should email this whole story to Tony C. Thanks for the update! Love, Dad

  2. That’s my Louisiana Boy!! I can hear your great-great-grandmother laughing now! And, if Amelia & Julianne can make pralines in dreary, drizzly Scottish weather, we need to talk . . .


  3. dude, chicken and sausage gumbo after the jambalaya.

    on a side note, i’ve always said crawfish exactly as it looks, with the “aw” sounding like a blend of a short “a” and a “uh” sound and “puh-‘cahn.” but i’ve never been good at interpreting people’s written pronunciations, so maybe i just said the same thing you did.

    also, you should listen to a band called belle & sebastian (albums dear catastrophe waitress, if you’re feeling sinister, and various others that are all really good), since you’re in scotland and all, and they’re scottish. you’d like them, i think.

  4. Mark, thats great your trying to enlighten the rest of the world on our cajun *yankee Louisian* ways. Have a good one bro!

  5. We introduced our Australian friends to Tony’s (which they lovingly call creole) this past summer. We had “prawns” covered with Italian dressing, butter and Tony’s broiled on each side for a few minutes. They fell in love, and we haven’t heard the end of it!

  6. i loved french food, but i honestly dont think i would have survived with out my tony’s. im impressed that you actually cooked real louisiana meals- i usually just louisianified whatever french food i was eating at the time. my friends used to make fun of me cause i had one of those mini ones and i kept it in my bag because i ate most of my meals out. keep up the good work!

  7. That rocks my face off! Now if only we could get you to cook for us when you come home?! What do you think?

    Hah, I think about you lots and miss you more!

  8. You kids look like your having a fun time. Keep it up!


    — Leland Milton Goldblatt, Ph.D. ¨
    Distinguished Professor

    Q. What’s worse than tax-and-spend Democrats?
    A. Borrow-and-spend Republicans.
    It’s not that the Republicans don’t like spending money. They just don’t like Democrats spending money. To prevent that, their strategy
    since the Reagan years has been to bankrupt the country while they’re in power. That way, even when the Republicans get thrown out and the
    Democrats are back in control, the Democrats still won’t be able to spend very much.

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