I was already salivating with anticipation when I paid my 10 bucks and entered the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Ask me about my favorite Cajun or Creole food and my answer will go on and on. Jambalaya seasoned with andouille sausage, sweet potato pecan pie, crawfish bisque, shrimp etouffée -- you get the idea.
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum (www.southernfood.org), which opened in June, celebrates the food of the American South. One of its first exhibits was on the food of Louisiana. And there it was all around me: artifacts and placards about the evolution of pralines, how to make café brulot, the harvest of shellfish that are central to the cooking of New Orleans. I craved lunch.
Another exhibit was about dining at the White House: A table set with china that had the same cornflower pattern that Thomas Jefferson used, candlesticks from the Clinton White House, dinner menus, invitations, photos, First Ladies Cookbooks. But the exhibit was more about the props and pomp than it was about food.
I returned to the Louisiana exhibit and read about the origins of andouille and boudin sausages. Unfortunately, the museum offered no samples, and I was feeling deprived. So I walked to the French Quarter and searched til I found a smoky dive offering po'boy sandwiches, fried pickles and jazz. After visiting the museum, I knew more about what I was eating, but there's no better way to celebrate a cuisine than to eat it.
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This is one in a series of postcards by Marjie Lambert, assistant Travel editor, who has been to all 50 states. Read her other postcards at www.MiamiHerald.com/travel.