Cajun lunch to benefit Relay for Life

Published 10:50 pm Thursday, February 19, 2009

Have you ever had authentic Cajun cuisine? We’re not talking about the stuff that comes in a bag; we’re talking about real “N’Awlins” (New Orleans) style food like they cook on the bayou.

Teresa Maddox, dietary manager at Chilton Medical Center, knows a thing or two about Cajun cooking. She and the cafeteria staff are making several traditional recipes today for a luncheon benefiting Relay for Life.

The menu includes red beans, rice and gravy with smoked sausage; garlic bread, cracker salad, and king cake.

“It’s the real deal,” said Maddox, who worked for a dredging company in Louisiana in the mid-’70s, where she learned from the Cajuns themselves.

“You live on a dredge boat,” she said, explaining that the boats have their own kitchens on board.

Red beans, rice and roux gravy is a dish traditionally served by Cajun restaurants every Monday. Then there’s the cracker salad, which has an interesting story behind it.

“Back in the old days, people would order their crackers in a barrel,” Maddox said. “When you live on the bayou, you don’t go shopping every Saturday. You stock up on supplies.”

The king cake is a sweetbread cake containing random items such as coins or beans. Whomever receives the piece with the coin or bean has to bake the cake next time.

CMC is putting a neat twist on the king cake tradition. They are randomly inserting plastic Mardi Gras coins in some cakes, and if you draw one you get a free lunch.

“They will be sterilized,” Maddox said.

Lunch will be served from 11-1:30 at $6 per plate or $10 per couple. Dine in or carry out is available. Call 280-3547.