Fill your hearts with hope, new beginnings, reach out for new opportunities, make resolutions and live your life to the fullest and don’t forget to flop your lip over all of the sister’s good groceries!
As we look at the calendar we see that father time is marching on mercilessly. Within a few more days we will say adieu to 2012 and hello to 2013. Our human race has fallen victim of reasonless conformity. We all run out to celebrate the New Year, we sit in anticipation to watch that big beautiful ball drop in Time Square, make resolutions and look forward to 365 more days to come. Someone once whispered in my ear that they felt that this might be an error. What we really should do at the end of the year is we should take an inventory of the passed 365 days; give thanks to the Creator for our health, our work, and our pleasures. Add up all the benefits and mistakes and analyze the past 365 days. Learn on our mistakes and be pleased and content that it passed us over without accidents, deep sorrows and ill health. By doing this we can relive the pleasant and account for the unpleasant. And so with that being said I shall devote a few minutes to run down the benefits and pleasant memories of the year 2012.
As the year 2012 began Amy and I looked forward to all the opportunities and crazy shenanigans that we could wrap our hands around. The year started out a little crazy as we began to plan out what we wanted to accomplish for the next 365 days to come. With a sparkle in our eye and a spring in our step and the wind beginning to push us toward new beginnings, our hearts and souls were busting from the seams. We were working our fingers to the bone to try to get our name out there, write a cookbook, manage a blog, work full-time jobs, take care of our families, cater our good groceries and just trying to live life on life’s on terms. It was difficult to say the least, every minute that we felt the wind become weak in our sails, we just prayed. We prayed for God to give us the strength to keep on going. To give us the imagination to bring you all a little laughter and good food! Isn’t that the only two things we need to survive? To laugh and to eat! That was our mission; to laugh and eat our way through the year 2012 and that is exactly what we did.
As the year opened up and all the confetti was swept away and all the fireworks disappeared we felt a little disappointed. It seemed that all that enthusiasm had just diminished from our life. But all that was about to change when we stumbled on an opportunity of a lifetime. Our motto was “Just put us on a highway and give us a damn sign”. Traveling along the open roads and taking chances was what made us feel we were going to make it. Just give us an Ipad and some Velcro and we are going to make some magic happen! Turn up our tunes and sing as if there was no tomorrow. We didn’t even have two nickels to rub together but found the means to travel through four states and eat and meet some of the finest people that God ever created. Plus we were able to spend time with our families in Louisiana. We put aside all of our pride and embarrassment and emailed people to advise them on our travels. We wrote to people that we didn’t feel we had a chance in hell to meet and to our complete surprise they were actually intrigued with our story and wanted to just see what made the sister’s tick! As we set out on this journey we had no idea what we would encounter. It was the week of Mardi Gras and we were going to celebrate all that it had to offer. With watching magnificent parades and enjoying all the sights and sounds, we felt that life just couldn’t get any better. We would have to say this journey was the best thing since color TV! We were able to squeeze in a day with owners of Louisiana Hot Sauce and tour their facility, which was quit impressive. While on our extraordinary journey through Louisiana; one of our beloved stops was visiting with all the guys from T-Jim’s Grocery and Market. All I can say is how delightful these folks are. We had such a superlative time getting to know all these beautiful people. They were just plain and simply the “Cats Pajamas”. They were so welcoming and fed us some of the best groceries we have ever flopped a lip over. We ate everything from Pain D’Toilettes (Pork Patties) to Bunny Bread sopped in cane syrup. They are non-stop making the finest boudin, cracklins, fresh sausage, hogshead cheese, and stuffed gogs to name a few. The entire journey was just a rip-roaring good time. We just seemed to be on a highway to a new Betty Crocker eye-opener. Our mission was to bring back a little more knowledge, understanding, experience and awareness of all the unique people we encountered and their various cooking styles. We will go door to door in our quest to find that extraordinary technique that makes us go AHH!
After a quick rest from all of our travels we appeared on the Food Network “Paula’s Best Dishes” three more times, performed a speaking engagement for some wonderful women in Jasper Georgia, had a magazine shoot with Paula’s magazine, got together and worked with some fine people with Follow Productions, and threw it down Cajun style!
Sometimes in life you must take a risk and try a little something different. Kenny Rogers said it best “you got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to run”. Well let us just say we held on real tight and didn’t flee, we went out on a limb on this one and at first we thought we had broken this limb and fell flat on our face. It all began on a Friday afternoon (while we were catering to 800 people) Amy had a tremendous idea for us to rent a booth at the “Georgia Throwdown” in our hometown in Albany, Georgia. This event took place at our local exchange club fairgrounds, and consisted of some of the greatest musicians from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Colt Ford. This occasion was a three-day event of nonstop Southerners raising their solo cups and beer cans in pure delight to free-bird and kicking up some dust with Big & Rich. We set out to sale our wonderful Cajun dishes to all these Southerners, not knowing what type response we would receive and not knowing what outcome we would have. We went into this blind as a bat and came out seeing clearer than a Google map. Even our local newspaper, “The Albany Herald” came and did a little story on us, and yes slapped us on the front page. As we began the process of figuring out what we were going to prepare for this “Throwdown”, the catastrophe of episodes that began to happen really made us sink into the pits of hell. We truly wondered if we were going to be able to pull this one off. We had started to prepare what we felt was a variety of our Cajun specialties early on in the week and working so hard as if we were going into battle. At this point the sisters would have rather sat in an ant bed naked!
As the tent went up, the dust began to settle and the music began to play everything seemed to fall into place. The partygoers began to file in and smell the aroma of some of the fine Cajun groceries we had prepared for them. Each person that came to our tent and ordered one of our dishes seemed to go way with a smile and came they back for seconds and even thirds. They seemed to be in pure heaven enjoying all that we had to offer. This is what makes it all worthwhile. We love watching the expressions on people’s faces as they took that first bite.
As we began to venture out and meet all the different vendors, we instantly were making friends with people from all over the US of A! We met some of the finest people that do this for a living and have it all down to a science. It was amazing how they had made this their whole life and we thought it was complete hell and frustration. By the end of this amazing weekend we were thinking the same thing, how much fun it would be to travel and meet different people and do what we love to do! Cook and feed people! One gentleman we met was in the tent right next to us and we found him to be astonishing. He was an elder gentleman with a small frame and a huge smile. His name is J.D. Lankford and he was a WWII German prisoner of war. He was selling his book “Walk with me,” One soldiers story. He shared with us all his miraculous triumphs and told us that we could take this book and read it at church because it was all-true. He was the last living soldier to be able to tell his story. During the evening we would take him a bowl of dirty rice or red beans and rice and a glass of Wagner’s sweet tea and he just absolutely loved it, which thrilled the sisters.
When Saturday evening had come to a close and Lynyrd Skynyrd played his encore the crowd came upon us like a mosquito would at a nudist colony. They ate us out of house and home, barely a grain of rice left. So Sunday morning was looking very grim for the sisters. We were going to have to get up early and sling together more groceries for all these hungry, hung over people. We got everything together and Amy stayed behind to continue the cooking while we set up shop and waited for our customers to arrive. Sho nuff they were flying around our tent like vultures and wanting something that would stick to their ribs so they could continue their “Throwdown”. Sunday seemed to go on without any trouble until we began to run out of white rice. When panic set in Amy said “Let’s just serve it over the dirty rice”. They devoured it, and came back for some more. We got a crazy idea to name the dish “dirty toe” for etouffee severed over dirty rice and the “dirty go” for gumbo served over dirty rice.
That weekend taught us so much. It taught us what hard work can do for your soul, how it can bring old friends together and how to celebrate a grand event. We can’t begin to tell you what that weekend meant to us, it was just spectacular! It was something in the air that weekend that had not only the sister’s but also all the people that graced the fairgrounds feeling a little like they were a Free-Bird (no pun attended)! We laughed, we cried and we sold the hell out of some Cajun groceries! But we are here to tell you somehow we managed to pull it all off with a success. At the beginning of the event we swore we would NEVER do another festival again. Come Sunday when Justin came by and asked us if we would be back next year, we looked at each other and both said, YES!
After the Jam we have now started serving all our delicious Cajun Cuisine in our restaurants and are so excited to see how all these South Georgia folks respond to all this fine eating.
Next on the sister’s agenda, we will set sail on a wonderful cruise with Paula Deen to Honduras, Belize, Cozumel which promises to bring lots of entertainment!
We both have had some ups and downs this year and ends and outs but all in all we have had the time of our lives. We worked hard and played just as hard. I feel that it is time for the world to get a taste of “The Sweet and Savory Life” we all need a little laughter in our lives and we guarantee to bring you that if nothing else. Stay tuned to what the year 2013 will bring we just cant wait to see what all we can accomplish this year. Happy New Year!