It is the Friday after Thanksgiving, just after lunch, and I have eaten 9 full meals since Wednesday morning, not including Thanksgiving Day. For those who need a little help with the math, that’s 9 meals in the space normally occupied by 5 meals, at most, punctuated in the middle by an entire day of obscene digestive accomplishment.
Here is what I ate, and where:
Wednesday Morning: Early breakfast with a good friend at Paloma Café, Uptown, great huevos rancheros and half of a deliciously light and buttery biscuit. Had to get it in before the Real Family Shenanigans began.
Wednesday Elevensies: Quick stop at Laurel Street Bakery (of which aforementioned friend is the owner) for Thanksgiving Day baked goods, illicit backseat consumption of one piece of deliciously citrusy blueberry-lemon quickbread.
Wednesday Breakfast: Beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde in the French Quarter.
Wednesday Lunch: After a quick walk in the swamp in a state park, forest, or other governmental space named after Jean LeFitte (?), lunch at Crabby Jack’s: half a duck PoBoy (think duck confit on steroids, in soft white bread), half an order of fish tacos in hard blue shells, and pork-studded red beans and rice.
Wednesday Afternoon: Nuts and snacks at cousin’s house.
Wednesday Dinner: Three-course meal at Bayona, consisting of shrimp- and crawfish-stuffed phyllo triangles (basically New Orleans spanikopita), cream of cauliflower and artichoke soup (mostly cream, not so much veg), pan-fried salmon with choucroute, and (wait, I meant four courses) part of a pumpkin empanada dessert.
Wednesday Drinks: A light round of martinis at The Columns Hotel on St. Charles.
Wednesday Dinner Number Two: Family retired, and we went to Cooter Brown’s way uptown for what ended up being another meal with friends (we’d meant to go for oysters, but alas, they’d run out): “killer onion rings,” so aptly named for their spicy crust, and cheese-smothered round French fries.
Thursday, THANKSGIVING DAY: Foods including, but not limited to: giant breakfast pastry spread from Laurel Street Bakery, spunky little Louisiana Satsuma tangerines, bagels and cream cheese, fried sweet potato chips, fried russet potato chips, crawfish/cream cheese dip with carrots, praline pecans, Chex mix, multiple cheeses, fried turkey, traditional roasted Tur-Duc-Hen (or turducken, as I always thought it was spelled before I saw the packaging), cheesy potatoes, sweet potatoes with real marshmallows on top, crawfish stuffing, dinner rolls, mini cornbread muffins, corn, dinner salad, sautéed green beans with bacon, garlic, and chilies, white creole garlic gravy (which, having no turkey drippings, we made up from a big can of Swanson’s chicken broth), cranapple sauce, homemade pumpkin and pecan pies with CoolWhip and vanilla ice cream, a giant plate of “Italian” cookies, fruit, and roughly one bottle of wine per person. I must be forgetting something.
Friday breakfast: At Mother’s, the New Orleans breakfast spot famous for its ham. I had a ham and cheese omelet with grits and 2 biscuits, which together must have held the better part of a pound of butter.
Friday lunch: Muffaletta sandwiches (umpteen kinds of Italian pork product, provolone, and wonderfully salty olive salad on toasted, olive oil-soaked sesame bread) from Corner Grocery in the Quarter.
And there you have it – the story of How I Became Obese in New Orleans.
My cousin, a tiny woman who lives in New Orleans and spends much of her time working in an ER there, estimates that her average patient weighs between 250 and 300 pounds. It’s no wonder.