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  • Emily


Updated: Jan 14

In the mid-80s, when I was finishing up elementary school, my family moved from the Boston suburbs to Monroe, Louisiana. "About as far from New Orleans & still in the same state," is how I described the geographic location of my new hometown. About an hour west of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Ninety minutes south of El Dorado, Arkansas.

Although I didn't realize it at the time, up to that point, I had been exposed to a quite a variety of cuisine & culinary techniques as a child. My mom is Polish & was a home economics teacher -- she could get dinner on the table in about 15 minutes, & I never thought having bananas foster for dessert on Tuesday at 8 years old was strange. My father is Hungarian & his mother spoiled me with Eastern European comfort food.

But living & eating & cooking in Louisiana increased my exposure tenfold.

One of my special food experiences was when my mom was involved with the creation of the Junior League cookbook, "Celebrations on the Bayou." They needed to test recipes. And my tiny 8th grade class got the privilege of being the taste-testers. I'll never forget sampling the crawfish étouffée. Just "wow."

It is also through this cookbook that I learned the term "lagniappe" (pronounced lan-yap), a Cajun-French word used to mean "a little something extra." A bonus, a small gift. Generally, from a merchant to a customer.

To me then as now, "lagniappe" seemed like such a happy word, with a warm, hospitable, almost jolly sentiment. Like walking out of a great restaurant, belly full of fine food. Spirit light and energized from being doted on by attentive staff, just to be handed a "lagniappe" to further amplify all those feelings.

We hope 70 North, whether in The Market or on the web, can provide you with an opportunity to learn & try, to taste & discuss, or just to feel a little something extra.

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