One can be inspired by food. Taste can be a very powerful sense. Mardi Gras season is reason to celebrate all the senses. One often hears about King Cakes, but one of my favorite culinary celebrations involve Louisiana Strawberries. The season is very short but very sweet. Louisiana Strawberries are some of the best I’ve ever had.
They are grown around a number towns, including Independence, Amite and Tickfaw, LA. Below is one brand.
Note the Italian name? In the 1800’s a large number of Italians, especially Sicilians, came to Louisiana. Initially it was largely the importation of Sicilians lemons that brought them, but later many came for other reasons, including providing labor for the sugar plantations. Some Italian families left the sugar cane fields to farm some of the best fragole (strawberries) imaginable. Justin A. Nystrom briefly shares this history in his recent book, Creole Italian. I recommend it if you want to learn the fascinating story of how Sicilians came to Louisiana and how they greatly impacted our food ways.
If you are lucky enough to come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, see if you can find some of these “sources of inspiration!”