About 45 years ago this coming February, two young nurses (in their early 20’s) from small town, Saskatchewan, Canada, thought it would be a good idea to “drive” from Weyburn,SK to New Orleans, LA to take in some Mardi Gras festivities. These were the days before computers, Google, Cell Phones, or GPS!!
Armed with only maps we got from the CAA, off we went on one of the most memorable adventures of my lifetime!! We left at 11 pm (right after I got off my evening shift) and, taking turns driving, we drove straight through (almost 3,000 KM or almost 1900 miles) to our destination.
One day, as we were walking around the French Quarter, we went in to a little shop where there were free samples of Pecan Pralines. I fell in love with these sweet treats, and on another day, when we drove over to Baton Rouge, I purchased a cookbook called “River Road Recipes”, that has several local recipes for this traditional Louisiana candy.
French settlers brought the original recipe to Louisiana, where there was an abundance of both pecans and sugar cane. In the 1800’s, emancipated black women in New Orleans added cream to the European recipe and the American Praline was born.
I make this rich, sweet candy every year at Christmas and as I’m making it, the sweet memories of my first ever major travel experience return in full, smile-inducing detail.
“I loved him more than I loved pralines and beignets, and that was hardcore, because my love of sugary, sweet things rivaled the most epic love stories known to man.” ~Jennifer L. Armentrout