This doesn’t have so much specifically to do with Le Vignaud, but somehow I feel it’s appropriate. There have been so many struggles in the past year–the difficulty of Jason and I separating, his move to France and ongoing complications with the house, and my six month odyssey that, at first, orbited around him. It’s been a year now since that fateful trip to the desert. Jason is in Europe with a car and possibly a house. I’m back on Wilson Drive and preparing for my own Burning Man adventure. But through it all we’ve had redbeans.
There was my 22 birthday, when Jason made a big pot of redbeans and we fed 17 people, all sitting on the steps of my front porch and laughing. There was the time I was WWOOFing in France and cooked a pot of beans, partly to show my gratitude to the family who had taken me in but also to feel connected to my warm sunny home half a world away. There was the pot of beans I cooked at Izzy’s house in Prague: it was a celebration of friends and a recreation of our Louisiana lives. Both of those meals involved failed attempts at biscuits. Later in Bonnat, Jason and I cooked an especially large pot of beans, with bay leaves picked from the tree in the backyard. We shared it with our new friends on Gigi’s birthday, and the next day he brought the food to his friend Breton, another Louisiana girl who had been stuck in a Parisian hospital. Luckily, that time my biscuits came out right, and I was glad to be able to share a bit of home.
So now I’m in my new home, just two doors down from my old blue house where we all had so much fun. Everything is familiar, but nothing is exactly the same. I have several pounds of beans simmering on my stove, waiting for tonight when 15 or so of my friends will come and join me for a meal. It’s such a New Orleans tradition, not just the food, but the act of using a pot of food as a nucleus for relationships. Tonight I’ll be completely immersed in my company as we feast and sweat on the back patio, but for a moment this morning, as I dropped the laurier into my giant pot, I couldn’t be sure where I was.