The first time I left Minnesota was in July, about a month and a half after we moved here. It was hot, really hot, and Minnesotans' complaints about the humidity were contagious. I -- born and raised in the sticky swamps of Houston and Baton Rouge -- was tempted to agree that the summer was humid.
Then I stepped off the plane in Memphis in July, and remembered what humid actually feels like.
Y and I thought we would have a similar experience last month, when we visited Louisiana for the first time since moving. We would be boarding the plane in 2 degree Minneapolis and stepping off the plane in 75 degree New Orleans. The thought of breathing 75 degree air made me giddy.
But when we emerged onto the jetway in New Orleans, it wasn't the temperature that struck me. There was something in the air that enveloped me; it was thick and heavy.
It was the SMELL OF FRIED FOOD.
Sure, Minnesota claims to be purveyors of fried food, with their eight million kinds of fried food on a stick at the state fair. But that happens once a year. If you're going to claim something, own it -- the dirty south owns fried food year round and has the obesity rate to prove it and apparently makes fried chicken on the tarmac at Louis Armstrong International Airport.
Just a few of the delicious things we ate while in Louisiana:
And some of the not so delicious.
Springtime in Louisiana is more than spring, it's crawfish season. For some reason, the entire state decides it would like nothing more than to gather around a table that smells like rotting fish, and peel apart a red cockroach with a shell and suck oily yellow meat out of it.
I've never been able to get over the rotting fish smell, so, I've never eaten a crawfish. I decided on this trip that I should try it. It was about as gross as that time I ate raw herring in Amsterdam.
(By the way, once we made our way through the fried food smog, it was an amazingly beautiful day. While we waited for our ride, we sat down in a patch of grass as people looked at us strangely. I'm pretty sure before that day, the only thing that grass had been used for was smoking and discarding of cigarettes. )