Road trip! Next weekend we will head for Arkansas. We will fly to Little Rock. We will rent a car. Then we will drive for a couple of hours to Hope, Arkansas, to see some sweet people. We're not the only ones traveling to get there. Lots of people are coming from all over Texas. Some are coming from Tennessee. Some are coming from different places in Arkansas. Whatever the points of origin, the destination will be just a place, just a location, until we all get there. Then it'll be gathering of young (as young as a couple of weeks old) and old (as young as just over 80 years old) souls there to enjoy each other's company.
Next weekend will be a particularly special one. My mom's side of the family will be enjoying a family reunion in southwest Arkansas. I could probably stop right there and you could flesh out the rest of the story. Everybody's got a family. Every family's got their share of family stuff: the crazy aunt(s), the blended families, the exchanging…

Fool Me Once...

Let me begin by telling you that we have some very wonderful people who work very hard at W.D.Deli. We spend a lot of time together, and when a business is as small as ours, you really do work as a team. We help each other out a lot. We care about each other. We laugh with each other, and sometimes we cry with each other. We work hard. If you've every worked in a restaurant you know that there is always hard work going on. Sometimes shenanigans. But more often, hard work.

The wonderful, loyal, hard-working folks that have been at W.D.Deli a while have seen a lot of not-so hardworking people come and go. It's remarkable how many times we've been fooled. I mean:

Fool me once, fool me twice - just keep fooling me. For the past ten years or so, we've seen a steady rise in the job applicant's ability to fool us. The application may look good. The conversation/interview is pleasant enough. There is eye contact. There seems to be a good amount of knowledge and experience…


There are several things that I am obsessed with, but today we will only cover three.

These blank notebooks and journals. If there are any of these in a book store or gift shop, I will find them and admire them for a while, taking the ones that really grab my attention into my sweaty hands to turn over and open and check out. Do they have lined pages? What kind of paper? Right now I have a lot of blank ones, and a few that are full of notes from days past. Just the other day I opened one up from 2008/2009 and was reminded of some good and not-so good times. Why am I obsessed with these things?

This place. This is St. Roch's in New Orleans on St. Claude Street. We've been to a few of these new "Food Halls" (Perhaps you remember something called a "Food Court." Get with the program. The Food Hall is the thing now, baby.) in various cities, but I think this is the best one yet. It seems to operate as some sort of cooperative. Real plates (not paper) and utensi…

Cheesecake Cookies

Several months ago a dear friend and customer brought this dessert in to the deli as a "Thank You" for something we did for them. The staff ate it up and asked for more! It was a sweet gesture (literally, as the kids say), and I hounded Miss Walton and Miss Annis until they surrendered the recipe. As usual, I doubled the recipe to make two of these. Maybe it has something to do with being in the food business. I figure that if I'm going to the trouble to make one of something, I might as well make two. It doesn't take any longer, and that way I have one for us to enjoy and one to share with someone.

The recipe is called "Cheesecake Cookies" but it seems more like cheesecake bars. It starts with this:

I am told that this recipe comes from the New Orleans Junior League's cookbook. That, to me, is not something that should be taken lightly. Cookbooks from Junior League groups, Parent-Teacher organizations, or the local Baptist church are usually pretty am…

Hamburger & Noodle Casserole

Last weekend Mr. Beers and I road-tripped our way to Dallas/Ft.Worth, specifically to Bedford, Texas, for a little quality time with some family folks there. It was a swell and relaxing time. We splashed around in Sheila & Jimmy's pool, enjoyed some fried fish & potatoes & hush puppies, and just visited. It was long overdue and the time went by way too fast.
While we were sitting in Mom's living room Saturday, each of us looking at our little screens, my mom started getting Facebook messages from her dear friend Nancy May in Ohio. Nancy had a question for mom. She needed to find out what all the ingredients were for this casserole. Mom had gotten the recipe from her friend Frances Tucker in the early 1960s. Nancy had gotten the recipe from Mom over 15 years ago and now she couldn't quite read what everything was.
Mom was able to go directly to her little metal recipe box with 3 X 5 cards of recipes written in cursive (some in pencil, some in ballpoint ink) and…

Aunt Gail's Banana Pudding

Tomorrow is the Fourth Of July, and Mr. Beers and Mr. Bobo are invited to a friend's place for a day of America-ing. Happy Independence Day, y'all. We'll be splashing around in the pool, eating, drinking, laughing. Mr. Bobo thought it might be appropriate to bring a dessert. Perhaps a banana pudding. Coincidentally, my Facebook feed has been reminding me that I was with my siblings and my dad about four years ago. And that combination of random thoughts (dad, banana pudding, etc.) reminded me of Aunt Gail's Banana Pudding.

All the women in my family are great cooks. All the women in my extended family are great cooks. One "recipe" that stands out in my mind, though, is my Aunt Gail's Banana Pudding. When I was around middle school age, my dad and my Uncle Royce (Aunt Gail's sweet husband) worked together as mechanics at Hope Volkswagen in Hope, Arkansas. Every day around noon they would find something good to eat during the midday break. On one of tho…