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Dec 15, 2007 07:30 AM

Grocery store souvenirs

Can anyone think of some yummy offbeat food-stuffs especially condiments to bring home as gifts? We have already done the french quarter items for tourists and hotsauce twice, no more. We want normal daily grocery type things like creole mustard, picked watermelon rind etc. Does anyone have a "must have" pantry item that is local or even just southern? (We live in Los Angeles) I need some help! We can go anywhere to purchase things.
Thank you for your time and efforts!

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  1. Camellia Red Beans!

    Red Beans
    This recipe was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on April 5, 1998

    Serves: 6

    "In all the ancient homes of New Orleans, and in the colleges and convents, where large numbers of children are sent to be reared to be strong and useful men and women, several times a week there appear on the table either the nicely cooked dish of Red Beans, which are eaten with rice, or the equally wholesome White Beans a la Crème, or Red or White beans boiled with a piece of salt pork or ham."
    -The Picayune Creole Cookbook 1900


    • 2 cups dried kidney beans
    • 6 cups water
    • ½ pound bacon, cut into inch pieces (4 strips
    )• 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 celery, chopped
    • ½ cup green onions, chopped
    • 4 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 large smoked ham hock
    • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
    • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, ground
    • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
    • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
    • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon Tabasco ®
    • 2 bay leaves

    Note: Sort through the beans and pick out any bad or misshapen ones. Soak the beans in cold water overnight. When ready to cook, pour off the soaking water.

    Note: An alternate method is to put 2 cups of beans in a pot, cover with 4 cups water, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes; remove from the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 1 hour. When ready to cook, pour off the soaking water.


    1. In a black cast iron pot, sauté the bacon until limp then add the onions, bell pepper, celery, green onions, parsley and garlic.
    2. Cook until onions are clear, about 5 minutes.
    3. Add the beans and ham hock to the pot and add enough water to cover. Stir.
    4. Bring to a light boil.
    5. Add the bay leaf, thyme, black, red, white pepper, and Tabasco.
    6. Lower heat and simmer pot for 2 hours or until beans become tender and have made a thick sauce.
    7. Stir the pot two or three times per hour to prevent scorching on bottom.
    8. After about 90 minutes, smash about one kitchen spoonful of beans and stir them in into the remainder. Smash more of them if you like your beans extra creamy
    9. Add additional water if the sauce gets too thick.
    10. Add salt and more Tabasco to taste.
    11. Serve the beans over rice cooked firm.
    12. Garnish with chopped green onions and parsley.

    1. Hubig's pies are unique to the area. Try the lemon.

      1. I'm sure you can get most of this stuff in LA if you look hard, but I've taken home

        Local coffee (Community, Union, French Market)
        Zapp's potato chips
        Louisiana or Crystal hot sauce
        Tony Chachere's
        Crab boil
        jars of pickled okra, green beans, olive salad

        I recommend going to Dorignac's and just wandering around.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JGrey

          A good list. If you have the ability to bring back perishables, save some room for andouille, tasso, and smoked sausage. Steen's cane syrup is good, and I'd buy some local honey, too. Will you be here during one of the farmer's markets (not to be confused with the French Market)? You can get local jams, preserves, and other hard-to-find products at the Saturday markets, Tuesday market, etc.

        2. Bruce's Sweet Potato Pancake Mix and a bottle of Steen's cane syrup. Abita Pecan Harvest Ale (or one of their other ones). Richard's or Savoie's hot smoked pork sausage. Chef John Folse's Creole Cream Cheese. Italian olive salad mix from Central Grocery, for making muffo's, of course.

          1 Reply
          1. re: layne

            abita's pecan harvest is available at and at my local bevmo in san francisco. i just picked up a six pack :).

            i'll be in nola for the first time jan 2-7, so this thread is great!

          2. Bergeron's Pecans from New Roads, LA
            Tabasco Hot Pepper Jelly