As Hot As You Like It November 25, 2009Posted by dianehuhn in Photography, Travels.
Tags: Avery Island, backyard tourist, Captain Todd Casey, Iberia Parish, louisiana, McIlhenny, New Iberia, pepper sauce, redfish, Tabasco
As I saw the sign for LA-329 and headed south, I started to get excited at the prospect of visiting an island and happy that I was not going to be planting marsh grass upon it. Yes, folks, if you haven’t guessed by now, my destination was the famed Avery Island–home of a Louisiana concoction that has graced tables around the world since 1868. Tabasco that is, red gold, Louisiana tea.
Yep, it was my day to be a tourist, although, honestly, I kind of feel like a tourist everyday in Louisiana. And truth be told, I like it that way. I really don’t know what the future holds, or how long I’ll be a resident of this Sportsman Paradise, but I sincerely hope I never lose my sense of wonder and appreciation for the treasures my adopted home so graciously and generously offers up to us around each bend in the bayou and each curve in the river and each fork in the road.
Relieved that the persistent mist had given up on trying to dampen my day, it was still pretty downright gray, so when I saw this sign I decided to hang a left and spend a little time indoors hoping the sun would decide to arrive in the interim.
The first tour of day was about 20 minutes out, so I decided to take a quick stroll around the grounds and got a chuckle out of this piece of artwork. Legend has it that when the reds are a-swarming and a-schooling, they’ll bite on just about anything you throw at ‘em, including jalapeno peppers as Captain Todd Casey demonstrated in an infamous YouTube video that made the rounds to the in-boxes of most Gulf Coast fisherman a while back. Check it out. Some say it’s a hoax, but looks real enough to me and I’ve been on a few of those fishing trips when every cast either nets you a red, loses you a red or snaps your line. Talk about some fun!
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I learned that Tabasco is the official pepper sauce to royalty and if you’ve ever sampled English fare, it’s not hard to imagine that they probably forego the standard two ounce bottles and opt for gallon jugs with which to stock their pantry.
And check out that crock! Wouldn’t mind having me one of those in the kitchen filled to the brim with that mouth-watering delight, the smell of which was in the air and most assuredly making my mouth water. Hey, is anyone looking? Maybe I could nonchalantly back the car up here and pop the trunk. Darn, how come I didn’t bring the truck?
Alright, let’s avoid temptation and a sure-fire way to land myself in the Iberia Parish Correctional Facility and head inside to learn a bit of history and the culinary genius behind this masterpiece.
As I waited for our guide to arrive, I met a lovely couple from down my way. They had made the trip from Lafourche Parish with two of their young grandchildren in tow to learn, to appreciate, and to savor all that Louisiana has to offer. While the young grand-daughter tried diligently to wrap her arms around an eight foot bottle of McIlhenny’s best which just wasn’t going to happen unless she spontaneously turned in to Stretch Armstrong, the young grandson explored an interactive map designating the some 130 countries to which Tabasco is shipped. I learned that the wife was originally from my beloved home state of Michigan. And I stumbled around for something pleasant to say when she responded to my question of “Oh, really. What part?” “Oh, yeah, Flint. Well, um, Flint is ni.., I mean, Flint, yeah, it’s pret…Really, Flint. No kidding. How long you been in Louisiana?” Hoping she’d say that she’d been here long enough to have escaped the devastation that has besieged the hardworking citizens of the town that General Motors forgot.
And just in time to save me from my mouth, our lovely guide appeared right on schedule. And unfortunately my scheduled blog time has come to an end for this morning. But y’all come back tomorrow so I can continue to share the oh so many treasures of Avery Island with you.