What I Miss
I miss Mrs. Forstall’s red beans and rice. I’m making up a batch for the family tonight, and every time I do, I think of Mrs. Forstall. Growing up in Pensacola, Florida my mom and dad were very close friends with John and Nancy Forstall, who to me will always be Mr. and Mrs. Forstall. You see, in those days, in the Heart of Dixie, children did not use adults’ first names, ever. Mr. Forstall was born and raised in New Orleans. He married Nancy Forstall, a Japanese woman, and when she came to the USA with him she learned to make his favorite New Orleans foods, one of which is red beans and rice, served traditionally on Mondays in New Orleans. We would spend many a wonderful Sunday afternoon and evening at their home on Perdido Bay and often would have red beans and rice.
It became a signature dish in New Orleans because it was cheap, filling, nutritious and easy to make. Just toss Sunday’s ham dinner leftover bone in a pot, with red beans,
onions, garlic, smoked sausage, spices and cover with water and simmer
for 2.5 hours or so. Serve over long grain white rice and add a few
dashes of Tobasco and you are talking some mighty fine eats.
Thankfully there’s a number of excellent French/New Orleans style restaurants in our Saint Louis French district: Nortons serves a wonderful seafood gumbo and jambalaya. Soulards, serves red beans and rice, so I still manage to get my red beans and rice fix occasionally, but nothing is as good as Mrs. Forstall’s red beans and rice. I suspect the reason it will always be my favorite doesn’t have much to do with the food, great though it was, but has everything to do with the fun, family and fellowship around the table and the good times we had out there enjoying the bay, playing our instruments [that's for another post], and finishing the day with red beans and rice. Mighty nice.