On an afternoon as hot as a scene in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, some friends and I recently got together for a good meal consisting of grilled chicken, corn-on-the-cob, smashed potatoes, french bread seasoned with garlic & butter, and a choice of apple or peach cobbler (or both!) topped with vanilla ice cream. I know. I know. That's a lot of carbs. And your point is? Of course, I'm hardly an Emeril Lagassi or Martha Stewart wannabe, but I had envisioned a simple meal with a bit of Cajun flare that could easily be replicated or slightly modified (if carbs are an issue!) by anyone wishing to entertain grillside this summer.
A product of Walker & Sons, Inc., Ville Platte, Louisiana, the family explains how the Cajun seasoning earned its name by stating, "In 1956, Wilda Marie Fontenot Walker gave birth to the creator of this award-winning blend. Every time she uses it, she receives a loving slap on the back and a kiss on the cheek, thanking her for another great-tasting Cajun dish."
Both Sherry and I had planned the meal. I opted to man the grill outside while she prepared the potatoes...excuse me, taters...and added the finishing touches inside. Other selections to be served had been cooked earlier in the day, and only required warming. A centerpiece of freshly picked flowers from my garden graced the table. All that we lacked was a CD containing Hank Williams' "Jambalaya."
With everything ready to serve, I grabbed the camera to take some pictures before we sat down to eat. First, the flowers. Then, I selected one of the "purdiest" pieces of chicken, placed it on a plate and added servings of sides. When my brief photography session was over, Lucas promptly sat down to the prepared plate and politely waited (though drooling occasionally) while we served ourselves family-style.
I was a little concerned since Mark and Luke had already sampled the seasoning outside as I grilled the chicken. Mark had said to Lucas, "Sprinkle a little bit on your arm and taste it. Don't put it on the tip of your finger or you'll burn your eyes if you rub them." Well, we all know how naive and oblivious teenage boys can be. "Sure thing, Dad," he must have thought. With a sprinkle of the seasoning on his arm, he stuck out his tongue for a taste, and immediately started coughing! I thought to myself, "Oh, Lord, what have I gotten us into?"
By the time we were seated at the table, you can understand why I had already concluded it was going to be an interesting evening. I asked Mark to return thanks for the food and, after the blessing, I joked that we should pray that we survive the evening. Joking, my foot. Who am I kidding? I was serious!
Since I was busy eating, I didn't pen down our conversation verbatim, but the following pretty well paraphrases what was said during the meal. The dining experience turned out to be considerably less traumatic than I had feared . . . for four of us, at least.
Me (rudely talking while taking my first bite):
Does this stuff live up to its name?
Oh, it's good, but it's warm.
You mean like "hot off the grill" warm or "spicy" warm?
Jennifer (taking a deep breath):
I really like it.
Luke (He's a growing boy. So, give him a break!):
Jennifer (with tiny embers floating through the air as she exhales):
The chicken has really good flavor.
Jennifer (red-faced , but trying hard to smile):
Luke (having just swallowed and actually pausing long enough to speak):
I was about to say something intelligent...
Jennifer (still red-faced, but now sweating profusely):
How do ya'll think it compares to other Cajun and Creole spices?
Jennifer (with bloodshot eyes indicating she might be heading for the linoleum!):
I do like this better than Zatarain's . . . but it's . . . warm!
I think the chicken could have used a couple of more shakes.
There's the cannister. Knock yourself out.
(Interestingly, Mark didn't sprinkle any more seasoning on his grilled chicken!)
I think it would be great brushed on the outside of quesadillas.
This stuff would be good with cheese fries.
Jennifer (speaking two octaves higher than normal and beginning to hyperventilate):
Whew, it's warm!
There you have it. We all agreed that Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning is quite good, and everyone except Jennifer concurred that my grilled chicken could have stood a little more of the seasoning. And, in case you didn't get the point earlier, Jennifer thinks "it's warm." My only problem with the product is that it does, in fact, live up to its name, and I learned a long, long time ago that if you slap my Mama, you can bet she'll slap you back!