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Where Y’Eat: Football and Food Forge More than Good Times In Louisiana

Ian McNulty

In that jittery time before kickoff, there were so many questions. How will the Saints’ quarterback play prove out? Would this season start on the right foot? And, pressingly, where did you get that boudin?

Football weekends are a rite of autumn across Louisiana. While the outcome is up for grabs, the social architecture we build around it is an anchor. Naturally, food is a starting point, and sometimes, When the football gods are unkind, one reason to keep the rest of the rituals going.

In the circles where I run, sausage is a centerpiece to such pursuits, and like any compulsion worth indulging this one reveals its depth through the particulars.

When it comes to Louisiana sausage, provenance matters. And the deeper I’ve sunk into this pursuit the more I realized it isn’t just about the skill or varieties from one butcher shop.

Because we have drafted these consumables into our social rituals, over time they become tied up with the place and the people involved.

The Boudin in question at this particular game day party was from Kartchner's grocery in Krotz Springs, a St. Landry Parish town known for an abundance of quality boudin and speed traps.

I love this boudin for the texture of the meaty, loosely-packed link, with peppery spice that’s robust but not overpowering.

But I didn't even procure this boudin myself, which gets to another aspect of boudin’s social role for us obsessives.

It was a gift, from someone close who had been driving (slowly) through Krotz Springs last spring, thought of me, picked up a stash and then laid it on me back home in New Orleans, during a time when I really could use a boost. I accepted the gift with gratitude, and then kept it for an upcoming football Sunday, when I could serve it to friends.

Say it with flowers? No, for the people I’m lucky enough to count in close confidence, we know that the thought counts extra when you say it with sausage.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.