Rick Louvain is a charmer from New Orleans who 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 a scathing inventory.
Finding the produce aisle nothing more than a compost heap, his withering assessment of the floral department brought a tall bald queen around the corner clicking his nails like a scorpion, so Rick bought a rose and gave it to him in a thankfully effective gesture of reconciliation.
After declaring every can in the store a ptomaine grenade, we hit the meat section. I was jittery because the butcher on duty was my buddy Charlie, who has the build of a Sumo wrestler and the disposition of a lamb. After a sweeping forensic analysis of the meat section as a whole, we came to the discount section where 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.
“Great!” Rick said. “Run three pounds fresh through the tenderizer for me. 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. He goes out of his way to cut me t-bones to order, and that’s a certain sign of affection, if you ask me.
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, food of the gods, and you’re cooking.”
“You never let up on me, Rick. I’m gonna die in your harness.”
“You’re one lucky hoss, Jess.”