This time it was the New Orleans-themed meal. Crowd of 75. And a happy crowd, too, starting with the seafood gumbo served as a first course. Lots of wonderful shrimp. Lots of wonderful sausage. Nutshell: the best seafood (or any other kind of) gumbo I’ve ever had. It was so good that I was almost sorry that I couldn’t just get more of that and more of baker Kelley Whatley’s great bread instead of moving on to other courses.
I thought the sides chosen were admirable. One guest at our table ventured that he generally did not like stewed okra & tomatoes, but he thought this was excellent. I concur. Both the okra and the tomatoes were sufficiently cooked, but they both had texture. Moist but not runny. With the busy look of the grouper and the okra & tomatoes, I think they were wise to select very thin green beans to accompany. They looked great on the plate, and they too were cooked to perfection.
The woman seated to my right considered the bread pudding with whiskey sauce the best she had ever had. She may be correct in that. It was firmer than most bread puddings I have had but at the same time both moist and delicate. I’m not certain what seasonings Kelley used, but as always with Kelley they were expertly chosen. The few pecans on top didn’t hurt matters either.
I must commend the servers as well. I thought the young man and young woman who brought food to our table and cleared for the next course were both personable and efficient. Seaborn and Kelley are fortunate to have them working at the Pie Lab.
Other upcoming meals:
March 10: German
April 28: Spanish
May 26: Cuban
June 30: Greek
July 28: Indian
August 25: Antebellum Alabama
All of these meals are part of the Greensboro, Alabama OLLI program for the spring and summer. Each will be preceded by an OLLI program relating to the country or the topic. For instance, the August meal will follow a program earlier in the month by Alabama historian Sarah Wiggins about her latest work: The Journal of Sarah Haynsworth Gayle, 1827-1835: A Substitute for Social Intercourse by Sarah Haynsworth Gayle, Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins and Dr. Ruth Smith Truss PhD (Nov 5, 2013). Gayle lived in Greensboro in the 1800s, which makes this an unusually appropriate topic for the local OLLI chapter.
For more on the work: Click on the title above to go to the Amazon listing. The following will take you to the listing on the University of Alabama Press website: http://www.uapress.ua.edu/product/Journal-of-Sarah-Haynsworth-Gayle-1827-1835,5743.aspx
And if you go there, take a look at the other Wiggins books.
Again I must say how great it is for a small town like Greensboro to have chefs able to come up with such a range of cuisines. Seaborn and Kelley are already running a successful catering business. Soon to come: they will be opening a bakery in a separate building, preparing cakes and pies for Pie Lab and for direct (including mail) sales. (Already they ship pies all over the country.) Rumor has it that baking classes will be offered. And later in the spring, across the street from the Pie Lab, they will open an ice cream parlor, featuring homemade ice creams. How dare they! Don’t they know they are enabling my worst addiction?
It may kill me, but I’ll die happy!