Louvin’s Grillades

Rick Louvin is a “chawmer from New-awlens” and puts on more airs than a mountain range. He loves going to little urban supermarkets “to see what the Great Unwashed are consuming” and insists on dragging me to my little neighborhood store for systematic abuse.

After finding the produce aisle nothing more than a compost pile, his withering assessment of the floral department brought the guy in charge around the corner clicking his nails like a scorpion. Rick bought a rose and gave it to him, and after declaring every can in the store a ptomaine grenade, we hit the meat section. I was jittery because the butcher on duty was Charlie, who has the build of a Sumo wrestler but is one of the sweetest guys in the world, and he was stocking the discount cooler. After Rick giving a vivid (Rick knows every shade of red in the spectrum) pathological analysis of the pork, chicken and beef, we came to the discount section, and he grabbed a flat pack of cubed steak for two bucks and grinned. Big ole Charlie was right next to him, humming to himself and marking down hamburger. Rick slapped Charlie on the shoulder. “Hey! Is this round steak?” I tried to die three times.

“It surely is,” Charlie said with the most bountiful smile in the known universe. “We’ll tenderize anything you want, just pick it out.”

“Great!” Rick said. “Give me three pounds round. We’re gonna get some stuff in the deli, we’ll be back in a couple of minutes.” Charlie winked at me when we got the meat, and I think he was thanking me for the customer, but I’m not sure. Once out of the store, Rick said, “We’re going to make grillades. This is what my gammy uses. She breads it, fries it, makes a roux in that, throws in some garlic and onion, bell pepper and celery, diced tomato, cooks it down in a casserole in the oven, and she makes rice with it. Food of the gods and you’re cooking.”

“You never let up on me, do you, Rick? I’m gonna die in your traces.”

“You’re one lucky hoss, Jess.”

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