Lunch specials, a/k/a plate lunches, are an institution throughout Acadiana. In the classic form, something soupy/wet is served over rice, accompanied by a few starches. Crawfish etouffee, shrimp stew, potato stew, smothered chicken, white beans, red beans–plate lunches usually feature homestyle, pot cooking.
Regional favorite combinations exist; up and down Bayou Lafourche, you’ll find the Friday special of white beans & rice with fried fish. Pictured is the Friday special at Fremin’s in Thibodaux, which upped the starch quotient with a square of sweet, cakey cornbread and a chocolate swirl cake for dessert. At the Half Shell, also in Thibodaux, I once found 5 starches on the same plate: shrimp stew with rice, a buttered dinner roll, potato salad, green beans cooked with lots of new potatoes, and a brownie for dessert. You know you’re deep in cajun country when even the vegetables are full of starch! The Hawaiians, another great creolized pocket of the U.S., also has a fine tradition of starch-filled plate lunches.
Side note: the Corps(e) of Engineers finally approved & the state of LA finally funded a project to send more freshwater down Bayou Lafourche, helping to reduce saltwater intrusion & secure the drinking water supply for the region. Read more about it here.
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