by Ian McNulty
I'm hoping the Saints will turn around their losing streak this Sunday when they travel to play the Seattle Seahawks. But I'm also pulling for my friend Jeanne as she makes the same trip.
"I'm going up to Seattle for two reasons," she told me late one recent night at the music club d.b.a. "Number one is for the Saints but number two is to see some friends. So I have to bring up some red beans."
Clearly, Jeanne is a New Orleans girl of the first order. She is more than willing to travel across the country in the hopes of the Saints defeating another team in front of a home crowd, and she is also coming with some good local food.
"I used to cook up just about everything for my friends and bring it anywhere," she said. "I'd just cook it up, wrap it good and seal it up with tape. Now? The TSA wants to see everything because of the liquids. You can't carry anything on anymore."
So now she has to go through an elaborate ritual of cooking, preparing and packing her food to last for a transcontinental journey as checked baggage. The plan is to cook her red beans, portion them out in plastic freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible and put them in deep freeze for a day before departure. She is also planning to hit up her favorite boiled seafood shop for some dry ice to gird the goods for travel.
When I asked her why she didn't just pack a bag of Camellia red beans in her carry-on and cook it on her friends' Seattle stoves, she looked at me as incredulously as though I had suddenly sprouted antlers.
"What? Come on, now, it's totally different. The water's different out there and the elevation. It makes a big difference. You know one time we went up to Glenwood Springs, Colorado and we couldn't get the red beans to cook, we couldn't even get the water to boil, no."