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  • This is the jamabalya that Mamae made on the morning of Endymion. It is so so simple, so so cheap, and so so good. Forget all that make it from scratch, hand stuffed sausages and home reduced veal stock. No, all you need to do is throw in uncooked rice, green onions, chicken–which you do have to brown first, and sausage that, whoops actually Mamae's uncle smoked that himself. Then you dump in a can of beef broth and a can of chicken broth and just put that in the oven until it's done. Add spices to taste.

    You can get fancier, but why? I mean, we were on the Champagne of Beers followed by pre-recipe change Sparks followed by Cuervo shots drink plan. We were eating $5 pork chop sandwiches on white bread last night at Babylon, the meat roasting and charring in a drum on St. Charles and then folded by their attendee into pillowy, sweet envelopes and soaked with BBQ sauce from an unmarked squeeze bottle. Tomorrow we are gonna grab muffaletta at Central Grocery and eat it on the riverbank. We'll sit down at a number of places that are just known by a possessive pronoun.

    But as you all know, New Orleans is not a town for gluttons for only a brief window in late winter. I sometimes feel like a lot of my life choices are ultimately decided around food. I mean, I've signed leases on apartments because of their proximity to banh mi shops and have had to forego needed new shoes after a particularly involved trip to Whole Foods. And every time I am in the heavy, easy-going, hard-knocked, green, pink and purple plumed city, I think, if it feels so much like home, than why is it not?

    I am enraptured with tasty memories...

    Every time, the first morning I'm there, we're messing up our shirts with beignets au lait at Cafe du Monde. More home cooking at Mamae's parents' house, which is across the street from the wild City Park: the darkest roux'ed gumbo I have ever tasted paired with endless bottles of fine red wine, Gulf shrimp po' boys and Gulf oyster after oyster after oyster, sucked down with lemon juice before we had to feel too sad about it, and my happy amazement that you can buy king cake at the grocery store year round. You get lost, too hot and hungover somewhere near Tulane and end up with a lemonade and a Nutella crepe. You walk into a bar to use the bathroom at 3:00 pm on Magazine and you walk out with a Bloody Mary, a whole pickled veggie meal balanced on the sides of the cup. And then you finish it before you even make it another block, since you start talking to some strangers about broken hearts and castration spells and then you have to go back and get another and keep laughing.
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