Saturday, May 28


Team SFA just returned home from a two-day run down to Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, with filmmaker Joe York. This was Joe's third and last trip, in advance of his new film "To Live and Die in Avoyelles Parish," a meditation on the cochon de lait traditions upheld thereabouts.

Asked to explain cochon de lait, more than one of our hosts said, "That's a pig still sucking on his momma." In other words, it's a small, milk-fed pig, prized for its tenderness and flavor. It's traditionally cooked over an indirect wood fire.

In the foreground of this picture you can see Joe, capturing the scene. In the background you can see Conrad Ray, one of our hosts. He keeps a hunt camp outside Mansura, Louisiana, where, over the course of a spring afternoon, he cooked us a pig on a reflective pit of his own divination, rigged with a rotisserie-likie apparatus, fueled by pecan wood.

Joe and I learned much that day and night. At various butcher shops, we learned that gaugs are stomachs. And greads are offal mixes, including lights and livers and such, that you can cook down into a killer gravy and serve over rice.

More important, we learned that the people of Avoyelles Parish are among the kindest hosts we've ever encountered. And they cook some of the best pig we've ever tasted.

Join us at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party on the afternoon of June 12 for the debut showing of "To Live and Die in Avoyelles Parish."