Three new booklets to benefit the Chocataw-Apache of Ebarb Thursday, May 22 2014 

This Spring I co-authored and published three short books to benefit the Choctaw-Apache.  Two were cookbooks,

Let’s All Eat! and Something Sweet with Rhonda Remedies Gauthier and Choctaw-Apache: Twenty Years of Powwow with Suzie Sepulvado and Amelia Bison. They are available from the office for $5 plus shipping. I hope to publish them electronically with all proceeds after costs to benefit the tribelet's all eat in Fall 2014. Something Sweet


twenty years

Tamale featured in Louisiana Cultural Vistas Saturday, Feb 8 2014 

I was interviewed by University of New Orleans history professor and public history coordinator Michael Mizell-Nelson’s for a column on Louisiana Foodways, His article for the Winter 2013-2014 Louisiana Cultural Vistas is called “Tracing the Tamale.”   


Ruby Parrie’s Choctaw-Apache Hand Knotted Rosary Sunday, Dec 23 2012 

RubyRosaryReprinted from

Creole State Exhibit Artifacts at Louisaina Folklife

Ruby Parrie’s traditional skills developed from need and circumstance. One of 18 children, each of whom had chores and responsibilities, she was so small when she started cooking that she had to stand on an apple crate to reach the cabinet. She learned to quilt when she was just 10 years old. Her mother taught her to hand sew shirt tails and material pieces into plain, square quilt tops, stuffing the quilts with grass and using unraveled flour sacks for the thread. After she married Leo Parrie and began to rear their 11 children, her mother-in-law taught her to use a treadle sewing machine. Mrs. Parrie still uses the hanging quilt frame that originally belonged to her mother-in-law.

Ruby’s mother-in-law also taught her to sew without using pre-made patterns or directions. She makes most of her own clothes and makes uniforms and clothing for other people using patterns that she creates free-hand from newspapers. Mrs. Parrie also makes shirts, blouses, dresses, pants, ties, and other regalia for Native American powwow activities. She has a sense of Native American color and style and dressed her children in clothing she made to reflect their heritage.

Having been raised in an economically deprived community, Mrs. Parrie does not like to waste anything. One day in the yard, she picked up a string so that no small animal would tangle in it. She idly made knots in the string while talking to a friend. The string began to resemble a rosary, so Mrs. Parrie experimented with knots and string types and began to make rosaries. She sometimes purchases beads to decorate the rosaries or has local artisans carve crosses.
Mrs. Parrie’s foodways traditions combine elements from Native American, European, and Southern cultures. Cleppies, a corruption of the French word, crêpes, are a type of Indian fry bread. Mrs. Parrie also makes sweet potato pies that are half-moon shaped and either baked or fried, similar to the Spanish empanada. Red pepper soup includes chicken, garlic, roasted red peppers that she has grown and dried, corn meal, and water. This soup is generally served on special occasions.

Mrs. Parrie’s specialty food is tamales. Using her mother’s recipe, she processes dried corn into hominy to make masa for the wrapping.. The meat for the tamales may be pork roast, beef, hog’s head, chicken, or deer that is cooked with garlic, salt, and her home-grown peppers. With special preparation, the corn, meat, seasonings, and corn shucks are steamed to perfection. She usually makes tamales about once a week, producing about 25 dozen at a time.

North Louisiana

Native American

Wood, Twine
Photo: Thomas A. Wintz, Jr.

Remedies Family Reunion Thursday, Jul 29 2010 

I attended the Remedies Family Reunion on Saturday July 24, 2010. It was held at St. Johns Catholic Church in the school building. The event was attended by descendants of George and Susan Remedies (my maternal great-grandparents) as well as more distant relations. Lineal descendants included surviving children, a number of grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
Lateral relations and friends in attendance included A.J. Remedies, Sammy Leone, Victor Reyes, Hosea Remedies, Stella Remedies, Mary Patricia Remedies Miller, and Bertha Marie Remedies, among others.
The event was personally rewarding, but it also contributed to my understanding of family history, genealogy, and foodways. It will help inform my current and future research.

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Foodways among the Choctaw-Apache Community Tuesday, May 4 2010 

A review of Traditional Arts in the Choctaw Apache Community of Ebarb (1996).

Tribal members and elders write about themselves, from their own perspective to share with each other and the public. The Choctaw-Apache community has very strong food traditions. Pepper (green pepper and eggs, etc), tamales, sausage (chorizo), and Pondalote Bread. The booklet is the best single source on foodways of the community, and the entries are very compelling.

In addition to food, the booklet features many ancillary categories, including a chapter on hunting and fishing crafts, and another on farming, planting, and butchering. The book also has categories on traditional music, sewing, quilting and other handcrafts, stories and lore, and occupation lore, mostly dealing with the logging industry. Under the broad category chapters (listed above,) the book is arranged by entries by community member.

Oral History Interviews Tuesday, May 4 2010 

I interviewed my great-aunt Margie Remedies in March 2010, for Dr. Dollar’s Oral History class. Margie Remedies grew up outside of Many, and married into the Remedies family, where she quickly learned their foodways. She offers a firsthand account that weaves together both an insider and outsider’s view of those foodways.

Two taped and transcribed  interviews include numerous food preparation and food preservation techniques, as well as informative family vignettes. She explains how to make tamales from scratch: “first you butcher your hog…,” to making homemade ash lye for lying the corn, to spicing the meat, to hand rolling seventy-five dozen tamales.

Preparation of, and eating chili peppers was a key part of family food culture. Fresh (green) and/or dried (red) peppers were eaten at every meal. Peppers were dried by stringing them or laying them out on tin roofs.  Pepper was prepared with eggs; fresh pepper with onions, garlic, and tomatoes, or as a spice in beans or peas.  Aunt Margie explains the preparation of corn and pepper using hand food grinders, and, historically, using a “metat rock.” She tells how to make pigtail gravy and how to make hominy, masa, and tortillas the old way.

I look forward to follow up conversations with her and the opportunity to accompany her on a visit to L& W Tamales, her favorite Tamale supplier in Zwolle. A thesis on foodways seems like a bunch of fun.  But it will inevitably be hard work too!