A packed room of more than 100 neighborhood children and maybe 20 adults turned out to see author and food historian Lolis Eric Elie at Peter Paul Development Center last night.
Elie started off by asking the children for examples of their food that is from Richmond, from this area. They volunteered noodles, spaghetti, steak, and hot fries before collard greens got some applause from the adults in the room.
One of the founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Elie then tried to show to the kids the connection between culture and food in New Orleans through the example of red beans and rice. This is traditionally a Monday meal that you can make during the course of the day, he explained, and it is representative of “a joyous celebration and time with family”.
“You put the beans on, go do your laundry. Come back and check the beans, by the end of the day the beans are done.”
The audience was treated to a tasting of red beans and rice before the students left Peter Paul for the day.
New Orleans native Elie wrote for the HBO series Treme, set in post Katrina New Orleans. His new book, Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans offers its own with a unique mix of New Orleans’ history and a celebration of the eclectic and inventive culinary spirit of that city. Elie appeared as part of the Junior League of Richmond’s 69th Annual Book & Author Event.
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