Transplant Profile: Southerner by choice, Katie Sciba talks sweet tea, Southern vocab and beating culture shock

Nothing makes the South shine like seeing it through the eyes of a Southerner-by-choice. While Transplant Profiles usually feature born-and-raised Southerners living outside the region, this week’s contributor is a Midwesterner who moved South six years ago. Funny thing about people from the Midwest – they’re hard to impress. If anyone rivals Southerners for having pride of place, it’s Midwesterners. “New” Southerner and author of The Catholic Wife blog, Katie Sciba, shares her experience in adopting “y’all” into her vocabulary as well as a few other worthwhile adaptations she’s made since putting down roots in Louisiana.
@TheCatholicWife and Southerner by choice, Katie Sciba talks sweet tea, Southern vocab and beating culture shock today on the blog! | StayingSouthern.net

(Photo credit: Chip Methvin)

Name: Katie Sciba

Born in: Newport News, VA but grown in Omaha, NE (military brat)

Occupation: Columnist and at-home mom

I currently live in: Shreveport, LA

I transplanted because: Visiting future in-laws with my husband Easter of 2008, he was introduced to the principal at the local Catholic high school. By the end of the conversation, he had a job offer. Two weeks after our wedding in June, we filled a Uhaul and drove down to start a brand new life.

Similarities I found between the South and other places I lived: I’ve described both Midwesterners and Southerners as the nicest people I’ve ever met. Both will bend over backwards to make sure you’re taken care of in times of need and the abundance of care and concern is humbling. It’s been a real blessing to have experienced in both places.

The most drastic difference between the South and other places: The PACE, good grief, the PACE!! In the Midwest, there’s not much time to chat in passing because the work ethic dictates that play comes later. Every man is on his mission and people go go go til quittin’ time. Down here, life is slower, which drove me bananas at first. I remember pushing a cart (what they’d call a buggy here) at Target, getting stuck behind a pair of sauntering Southern belles in a narrow aisle. Cruising at a pace slightly faster than a turtle, I couldn’t get over how much they weren’t in a rush. It wasn’t until I learned to slow down myself that the culture shock wore off.

A Southern habit or value I adopted: It’s almost embarrassing, but I say y’all now. My whole life I made fun of it, and now I’ve proudly added to my vernacular.  The Midwestern counterpart “you guys,” still slips in here and there, but “y’all” feels much more natural. I’m also a huge fan of Sweet Tea and so enchanted by the flavor of Southern life.

How living in the South has changed me: It’s expanded my horizons – I just tore apart and ate crawfish for the first time a couple weekends ago (after living here for nearly 6 years). It’s been fantastic experiencing things outside of what I knew during my upbringing. And I really have learned to slow down, generally speaking, to enjoy life instead of rushing through it like I did before.

Morsel of wisdom to other “new” Southerners: Give your A/C a tune up for the 6-month long summer. I’ll never forget how shockingly hot it was when we moved down here, and how long it lingered into what was “supposed” to be autumn. Other than that? Just dive in. It might not make sense at first, but every nuance of the South has some delightful reason behind it that’s worth savoring.

—————————

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Josh Abbott Band: Honest-to-goodness country on tour near you

Throughout history, many great things have come from Texas.

Tex-Mex. The Schlitterbahn. Whataburger. Chuck Norris.

And a recent addition to the list: the Josh Abbott Band.

You may remember these Texas boys from their 2011 release “Oh, Tonight” featuring Kacey Musgraves, but like so many quality artists, the really good songs fly under the radar. Exhibit A:


Hands down the best comparison drawn between a woman and anything, ever.

The Josh Abbott Band doesn’t rest on merely referencing Southern landmarks in their lyrics; they paint a much heartier picture. Listening to “Road Trippin” actually makes it feel 10 degrees warmer outside and gives me the urge to wear sunglasses regardless of what time of day it may be.

“I’ll Sing About Mine” offers a refreshing take on what much of mainstream country music has forgotten about – real life.

“When the radio’s on, I just don’t understand, because tractor’s ain’t sexy and working is hard for small town people like me.”


Good news for Southerners living off the beaten path – the band is making its rounds to Illinois, Colorado and Kansas this July.

Josh Abbott Band: Honest-to-goodness country on tour | StayingSouthern.net

(joshabbottband.com)

July 4: Willie’s 4th of July Picnic: Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Ryan Bingham, and more TBA! Fort Worth, TX
July 12: Bub City BBQ Festival, Chicago, IL
July 17: Cavalcade Rodeo, Pawhuska, OK 
July 25: Grizzly Rose, Denver, CO
July 27: Dodge City Days, Dodge City, KS

Click here for more upcoming tour dates.

A little humor for your Friday

This is how I feel when I go back home to Louisiana and sit down to eat for the first time.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

It’s a tough time of year to live outside the South – crawfish season.

If you’re a Southerner far from home, chances are you’ve spent the last few months drooling over your friends’ Facebook photos of more than a few crawfish boils.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. is a farm after my own heart: They strive to bring the South to those of us who loved it and left it. Founded in 1985, Louisiana Crawfish Co. specializes in shipping Louisiana products – especially live crawfish – just about anywhere. 

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

Retail and wholesale customers can enjoy live crawfish delivered right to their doorstep.

In addition to crawfish-only orders, Louisiana Crawfish Co. also offers party packs that include live crawfish, seafood boil, their own special Creole seasoning, crawfish bibs, a t-shirt, a koozie and even Mardi Gras beads. With prices starting at about $75, you and 3-6 of your pals will have almost everything you need to have a traditional crawfish boil in your own backyard, wherever that may be. Louisiana Crawfish Co. also accommodates larger shipments, in case you want to invite the whole neighborhood.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

This family-owned and operated business leads the industry with tried and true shipping methods and competitive pricing. They stand behind all of their products, offering a money-back guarantee and they will price match if you are able to find a lower delivered cost. With a “why pay more” attitude, the Louisiana Crawfish Co. website offers price comparisons with other retailers.

A standard of stellar quality and service is evident in an abundance of happy customer testimonials.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. doesn’t stop at distributing only mudbugs. Alligator, turtle, various seafood, King Cakes, spices, Lasyone’s meat pies, turduckens,  a wealth of other party supplies and Southern goods are available on LaCrawfish.com.

More than 25 years in the business and over one million pounds of shipped lived crawfish proves this trusted company is here to stay and ready to help you with your next crawfish boil.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)


Lousiana Crawfish Co.
1-888-522-7292
1-866-593-5320
lacrawfish.com
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Movoto Article: 27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before Moving There

Movoto Article: 27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before Moving There | StayingSouthern.net

Movoto: #1. Louisiana’s National Monuments Are Hard To Pin Down (Image source: Flickr user The Sean and Lauren Spectacular)

Whether you’ve lived in Louisiana or you’ve always wondered what it would be like, there’s no doubt that the Sportsman’s Paradise is a place unlike any other.

A recent Movoto article details “27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before You Move There” and it’s not all alligator hunting and Bourbon Street clichés either.

The article features a few lesser-known fun facts about state including #22, Louisiana’s current “beer-aissance” accelerated by seven craft breweries and it even mentions Louisiana’s growing affinity for the film industry.

Transplant Profile: Anthony Williams in Los Angeles

Transplant Profile: Anthony Williams in L.A. | StayingSouthern.netName: Anthony Williams

Born in: Tyler, Texas

Occupation: Writer, assistant, cashier, background extra, etc.

I currently live in: Los Angeles, California, in the Pico-Union neighborhood.

When I go back to the South, I always: Fail to do everything I want to do. But Taco Cabana is usually my first fast-food stop, whether I’ve driven back and see the first one in El Paso, or fly in and dive into some nachos right after leaving the airport.

Something I miss: I’ve been car-free for a year now, but more than sometimes missing having that kind of transportation, I just miss driving 100 miles or more randomly just to see family or friends. I miss high school football games with huge crowds and intense atmospheres. I miss taking my little cousins off to the city to visit a new mall or new burger joint.  I’ve got people spread all over Texas, and even dotted across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and those little road trips were often a good little escape that I appreciate so much more now.

Similarities I find between the South and Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Lakers are almost as revered, worshiped and talked about as the Dallas Cowboys. Almost.

Something I do to keep my Southern identity: I still say, “y’all,” and started saying, “Bless your heart,” here while (working) in retail – to keep my sanity. And, there’s numerous little things I only catch here and there that I do because I’m Southern or just because I grew up used to it – saving and reusing bacon grease, and cooking huge pots of food even if it’ll only be for myself. Weirdly enough, I say “ma’am” and “sir” more here than I did growing up.

Being Southern has helped me: Stand out. Even though I lean more towards being an introvert, I can be a little extra when meeting and hosting people. I help lead a Bible study group with another Southern guy from Georgia. When it’s at my house, I always end up cooking or offering something, despite protests that it’s unnecessary.

Morsel of wisdom to other transplant Southerners: I’m starting to write creatively, and something that hit me while learning the formulas for scripts (yep, there are formulas) was the quote, “It’s the same, but different.” That’s true in writing and in life, and whenever I’ve traveled to or lived somewhere new.

There are basic structure to cities, communities and routines everywhere. While it may be fun and easier to sit and figure out what’s your “new this” or “new that” (“Pasadena’s my new Fort Worth,” “Ralphs is just Kroger,” “the 405 is my new I-635”), it’s better to accept things for what they are so you can sincerely savor it all.

Oh, and whenever you go back home, relax. Thankfully, I have family that can remind me of that when I’m trying to run around to see everyone and do everything. But you should be able to just chill all day at an aunt’s house as if you’re eight years old again.

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SPOTTED: Familiar Springtime Faces… and side-dishes.

SPOTTED: Familiar Springtime Faces... and side-dishes. | StayingSouthern.net

Viola tricolor or Johnny Jump Up

There’s nothing like a relentless winter to make me leap for joy when I finally spot a couple of tiny, familiar springtime faces in the yard.

As pretty as the flowers are, Johnny Jump Ups make a tasty little treat, too. Members of the same perennial family such as sweet violets, violas and pansies are edible as well. The most common way to integrate the colorful blooms into a meal is as a garnish or in a salad. They also make delicious spreadsjellies and even vinegar. Sweet violets (Viola odorata) can be used in tea, syrup and cakes or even candied.  While the sweet violet flowers taste slightly perfumed, their leaves are tart.

 Johnny Jump Ups have even been known to treat epilepsy, asthma and eczema.

For best flavor, harvest newly bloomed flowers in the morning. This is when the oils are most concentrated and blooms look their best. The more you harvest, the more flowers will grow.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

In my Southern family, Easter always comes with a big celebration. Relatives come to town, huge spreads of food are prepared and the Easter baskets are packed full of treats.

Now, living far away and having only a husband and a dog to celebrate with, the epic festivities seem like a lot of work for just a couple people to enjoy. It’s easy to get complacent about carrying on customs, but each year when I make the effort, I’m never disappointed. Although I may be a far-flung Southerner, I can always take traditions with me wherever I live to make it feel like home.

Here’s five easy ways to celebrate Easter that will have you feeling like you’re back home without a lot of fuss.

1. Dye Easter eggs. This easy activity will have you feeling like a kid again as soon as you try the old half-pink, half-blue dunking method. The eggs in this ancient activity are meant to symbolize new life, reminding Christians of Christ’s resurrection. Ukrainian customs hold great significance in each color of Easter eggs:Here’s five easy ways to celebrate Easter that will have you feeling like you’re back home without a lot of fuss.

White: purity and innocence
Yellow: wisdom, recognition, harvest and reward
Orange: strength, endurance and ambition
Red: happiness, hope or passion
Green: sign of spring, hope and innocence
Blue: good health
Purple: royal color, faith and trust
(Ukrainian Easter by Mary Ann Woloch Vaughn)

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

2. Eat. In my family, Easter Sunday Mass is always followed by a delectable lunch. Ham was on the menu when we were young, but as everyone got older and the family grew in members, fried chicken from the grocery deli took its place. Either entrée is enjoyable with sides of potato salad and ambrosia salad.

3. Stage an Easter egg hunt. Whether you have kids or you’re a kid at heart, hunting Easter eggs is a surefire way to add a little excitement to your Sunday. Fill plastic eggs with traditional candy, love notes, jokes, money or other fun trinkets to suit the hunters’ taste and bring smiles all around.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

Photo: Maida Owens louisianafolklife.org

4. Knock Eggs. Whether you call it egg tapping, tucking, pocking or pâquing, this tradition is a competitive sport in Louisiana. My mother taught my brothers and me when we were young and the tournament-style competition has been an Easter ritual ever since. The rules vary by region, but my family’s are simple: knock the pointy ends of two hardboiled Easter eggs until one of them cracks. The unbroken egg goes on until the last intact egg is standing. Don’t be shy about getting into it. Since 1956, people in Marksville, La. gather in the courthouse square after Easter Sunday church services to compete. Some families even make brackets and keep score.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter5. Go to church. I’ve lived a lot of places, most of them hundreds or thousands of miles away from my tight-knit family. Going to church has always made me feel close to them no matter how far away I may be geographically. Raised Catholic, there is a comfort in knowing my family members are hearing the same scriptures and saying the same prayers as I am at Mass 2,100 miles away.

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter in Los Angeles, California

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter

Stinson’s novel, False River, is available on Amazon.


Name:
Stinson Carter

Born in: Shreveport, Louisiana

Occupation: Screenwriter, Journalist, and Novelist

I currently live in: Los Angeles, CA

When I go back, I always: Eat Southern Maid Donuts and a Herby-K shrimp buster. And I appreciate the time I get to spend with elderly family members. I listen to their stories like it’s the last time they’ll ever be told.

I miss: Family. And being in a place where I have a past. In Los Angeles I feel anonymous most of the time, but in Shreveport I feel like I’m part of a lineage, and there’s a deep comfort wrapped up in that.

Similarities I find between the South and where I live now: There is a kinship between ex-pat Southerners that I enjoy whenever I meet them in California. I’m working on a script with the producer of The Help right now, who is from Jackson, Mississippi. I think the fact that our hometowns are only a couple hundred miles apart definitely helped me get the job.

A Southern value I keep: I value knowing how to cook, and how to be a good host. A modest spread by Southern standards goes a long way in Southern California. Also, being accountable for what you say you’re going to do. In Hollywood you don’t make real plans. For example, you might say to a friend, “Let’s get lunch this week,” and they’ll say, “Yeah, that’d be great!” (Everything is great in Los Angeles.) But of course you don’t actually get lunch. What you’re really doing is just both agreeing that the idea of lunch sounds nice at that moment. There’s an old joke in Hollywood that goes like this:

“Did you hear that so-and-so died?”
“No!”
“Yep”
“That’s a shame. We’ve been meaning to get lunch.”

Being Southern has helped me: Keep a fundamental baseline for my values, and preserve my integrity in a city and within an industry that doesn’t exactly reward it.

Morsel of wisdom to other transplant Southerners: Don’t forget who you are. If you have a strong work ethic and treat people well, then you will make the kind of friends who will root for your success.

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter in Los Angeles, CaliforniaRead Stinson Carter’s novel, False River, available for download on Amazon now.

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Recipe: Easy Gumbouffee

Recipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net

From the mad-scientist test kitchen: Gumbouffee

What’s that smell? Is that success or the huge pot of Gumbouffee?

My friends, it is both. Although it felt a little like mad science, the recipe for this semi-homemade dish turned out to be oh-so-delicious.

Like we talked about in Friday’s post, store-bought spice mixes are convenient, but they don’t deliver when it comes to authentic flavor and texture. Mainstream products are “good enough” to get by when you’re craving Southern food, but what if you want great?

We combined widely-distributed Louisiana-made products, additional seasonings and a few vegetables. The result was a savory etouffee-meets-gumbo.

The best part about this recipe is how easy it is. Even those who don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen can create an authentic Southern dish. No roux-related stress, no major time commitment. Just a fun, tasty meal with real Creole texture and flavor.

Total time spent in the kitchen was less than an hour, but the Gumbouffee tasted like it had been on the stove all day.

We used catfish in our recipe, but chicken, Andouille sausage, shrimp, crawfish or all of the above would be just as tasty. You could even add okra or diced tomatoes to make it your own. Follow these easy steps and you, too will be saying this sauce is c’est si bon.

Gumbouffee

–       1 box Tony Chachere’s Creole etouffee mixRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       1 box Zatarain’s gumbo base
–       1 pound catfish, cut into large bite-size chunks
–       3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
–       1 large yellow onion, chopped
–       2 cups celery, choppedRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       2 cups green bell pepper, chopped
–       ½ cup green onion, chopped
–       8 cups water
–       1 Tbsp Emeril’s Essence seasoning
–       1/4 cup blackened seasoningRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       6-8 cups cooked white rice

Directions
–       Mix catfish pieces with blackened seasoningRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       In a large pot on the stove, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium setting
–       In small batches, cook seasoned catfish until almost done, remove from pot and set aside
–       In the same pot, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté yellow onion, celery and bell pepper until onion becomes slightly translucent
–       Add Zatarain’s and Tony’s spice mixes, stirring to coat vegetables
–       Gradually add 8 cups of water while stirring frequently
–       Add Emeril’s Essence seasoning and catfishRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes until catfish is cooked through, liquid should coat the back of a spoon
–       Serve over cooked rice, garnish with green onion. Feeds 8-10 people

Etougumbalaya? You work on the name, I’ll work on the recipe

cajungrocer.com

cajungrocer.com

It’s Friday and during Lent, that usually means fish is on the menu.

Tonight’s kitchen adventure features a little Cajun ingenuity and catfish.

While boxed spice mixes for gumbo, jambalaya and etouffee are easy to find outside the South, they come up short when it comes to flavor, texture and authenticity.

One dark and stormy night, it was time for dinner and we were without a plan. And hungry.

It's all about using what you have to your advantage in the kitchen | StayingSouthern.net

The red beans hybrid. In the words of Emeril Lagasse, “BAM!”

My husband and resident kitchen whiz dove into our stockpile of Cajun dry goods (yes, we have a shelf devoted to this).

He combined boxes of gumbo base, etouffee mix and red beans seasoning mix along with the Cajun holy trinity of fresh onion, bell pepper and celery. A ham hock and a couple bags of beans later, and we had a savory, authentic pot of red beans and rice. Sometimes you just have to use what you have to your advantage.

Tonight, we will make another attempt at combining store-bought Cajun favorites.

A few more seasonings, catfish and the Cajun holy trinity will make appearances in this recipe.

A few more seasonings, catfish and the Cajun holy trinity will make appearances in this recipe.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, catfish GumboJambaToufee. Or Gumbatouffee. Or Jambotoufee. Etougumbalaya?

You work on the name, I’ll work on the recipe.

Stay tuned to find out how it turns out and the full recipe!

Happy Friday!

StayingSouthern.net

(blovelyevents.com)

“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens), American author and humorist

Dallas-native Old 97’s head west on tour

Old 97's on Tour | StayingSouthern.net

(dallasobserver.com)

Good news for alt-country fans living in the west!

The Dallas-native Old 97’s are on tour promoting a brand new album due out April 29. Along for the tour is South Carolina-born, retro moody singer-songwriter Nikki Lane.

If you like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings with an updated twist and a dash of rock and roll, Old 97’s is right up your alley.

Having attended a few Old 97’s shows back in the day, I can validate that the band knows how to entertain a crowd. Like their new song says, they’ve been doing this longer than I’ve been alive. I won’t do the math, but I’d say that estimate might be close to accurate.

As Southerners living far from the motherland know, we have to take advantage of homegrown fun when it comes our way. Below are the upcoming tour dates for the western U.S. Click here for full schedule.

Old 97's on tour | StayingSouthern.net

(gigposters.com)

Sat Apr 12 – Sunstation – Copper Mountain, CO
Tues May 6 – Rialto TheatreTucson, AZ
Wed May 7 – The Crescent BallroomPhoenix, AZ
Thu May 8 – Belly Up TavernSolana Beach, CA
Fri May 9 – El Rey TheatreLos Angeles, CA
Sat May 10 – The FillmoreSan Francisco, CA
Mon May 12 – Showbox at the Market Seattle, WA
Tue May 13 – Wonder BallroomPortland, OR
Wed May 14 – Knitting Factory Concert HouseBoise, ID
Thu May 15 – Urban LoungeSalt Lake City, UT

Recipe: “Better For You” Chicken Pot Pie

Recipe: This ain't your mama's chicken pot pie | StayingSouthern.net

This ain’t your mama’s chicken pot pie

I miss Southern food more than anything else about the South – besides my family, of course.

It’s probably a blessing that I don’t live in the South because if I did, I would chronically overeat the delicious but not-so-nutritious regional favorites. (Did someone say boudin?)

In my kitchen, I try to balance recipes that meet the “good and good for you” standard.

Chicken pot pie is one of those dishes that I compare to getting a hug. No doubt, it’s the buttery, creamy sauce and pie crust that makes it taste so good. It’s the epitome of comfort food. But, as comforting as it is, I’m not very comfortable when I can’t button my pants. So, I made some adjustments.

PotPie2This pot pie recipe might not be diet food, but it won’t leave me feeling like I just sold the farm either. By ditching the bottom pie crust, substituting half-and-half with low fat Greek yogurt and replacing traditional potatoes with cauliflower, this fiber-packed dish of bubbly goodness leaves me smiling without all the guilt.

Give it a try! I promise, you won’t even know what you’re missing.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 medium onion, diced

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 cup cauliflower, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

1 cup canned sweet peas, drained

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp melted margarine

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup low fat Green yogurtPotpie3

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme

4 cups chicken breast, seasoned with poultry seasoning (sage, rosemary and thyme), cooked and diced

1 pie crust (store bought, or your own recipe)

Directions

–       Preheat oven to 400 degrees

–       In a large sauce pan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until onion becomes slightly translucent

–       Add celery, carrots and cauliflower, stirring frequently, until vegetables become tender

–       Combine chicken broth and yogurt in separate bowl

–       Thoroughly mix in melted margarine and remaining olive oil

–       Add flour gradually while stirring constantly for one minute

–       Add chicken broth and yogurt mixture gradually while stirring well until it becomes thick and bubbly

–       Stir in peas, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme and chicken

–       Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish and cover with 1 pie crust

–       Cut slits to allow steam to escape

–       Bake 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly