Going to just stay on the porch!
The camp was filled with the normal aromas of a hunting lodge. The holy trinity of cut onions, bell pepper and celery had only minutes before been added to the big black iron pot of well browned speckled belly goose. We would later consume the goose and gravy over rice with a side of butter beans with sausage. The ambiance of the surroundings and the sounds of a low stakes poker game in the corner of the room, a couple of good old boys smoking cigars as they talked about politics and women and a couple of my buddies hovering over the stove had me mesmerized and at once separated me from the structured world around me. That night I was the designated camp cook- which is more the rule than the exception! The task of preparing delectable grub for the assembled group at the camp is a job not to be taken lightly. It is a sacrosanct position and the all-important ending ritual to a day at the camp. If a fellow were to mess up a meal he could very well be sent off in the middle of the night with possessions in hand with instructions never to return.
Modern civilization has invaded even the most remote of regions on this planet and our wilderness camp was not immune to the wonders of technology. In the fall of 2003 we had installed satellite television and with cell phones and lap top computers we were not as far from the sidewalks as we had once been. It was on a cold winter night that we were watching the Food channel when some dude from New York said he was going to make a “Cajun” gumbo. He further explained that because of Louisiana being so close to the Caribbean cilantro was extensively as an herb- he then put a handful into the pseudo gumbo.it was at that moment that we through our beer cans at the TV and went into an uncontrolled fury. He would have been strung up from an oak tree had he been present-no trial necessary.
I was challenged that night and agreed to produce a show that would show true Cajun cooking techniques in a casual format. I decided that it also had to show the cultural, historical and ecological assets of Louisiana. We assembled a crew and took classes at Acadiana Open Channel (AOC), where after throwing away the first seven attempts we produced an episode suitable for the airwaves. After a few months of running on open channel I was contacted by, Tim Duhon from FOX 15, he told me that he had a client ( Mike Lindsey) interested in sponsoring the show to air on his station. I thought it was a joke, but, sure enough we signed some papers and, “Cajun Karl’s Cook’n Adventures” was available for viewing in a third of the state of Louisiana. We eventually started airing in five different states and webcasting 24/7 on www.cajunkarl.com- not bad for local knucklehead! We have taped shows all over our beautiful state and have travelled to; Canada, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma. I got the chance to meet many great people and share really good food and stories. I loved working on the show and it gave me the chance to highlight positive things that we are often oblivious to, it seems like negativity is constantly bombarding us these days- it is actually a beautiful life. I think simplicity is the answer and sometimes less is more, we don’t have to live so fast and acquire so much stuff.
I was approached three years ago by some folks by some folks who said that they represented a syndication company who sold programs to the National networks. They sure had some fancy suits and expensive alligator shoes. They visited with me and we spoke of some technical changes to the show like; better lighting, improved audio and some fancy cameras that can do all kind of tricks. I knew what they were saying held water because we did most of the shows off the cuff and wing it in an effort to capture the moment in as real a fashion as possible- it worked for us. I was close to signing the dotted line when one of the fellows pointed out that the Grace that I said before meals had to go because it would not go over well with the viewing audience. I told him that I could say the grace without the Catholic sign of the cross. I told him I could just say,” let us thank God for the blessing of this food”, but, he said even that would probably offend people and cause him some trouble. Well I picked up my hat thanked them for their time and started for the door.at that point the old boy started saying that I was missing out on a golden opportunity and that I was a damn fool. I told him I already knew that I was and could have saved him some airline and hotel expense if that was what he wanted to know. I left that meeting saddened that our country endures all of the; cursing, sex, violence and immorality- yet get offended by a man thanking God for his daily bread.
I walked away from the show in utter disgust three years ago just a couple of months after that encounter. I am planning to return to television on ME TV, which is owned by DELTA media here in Lafayette. The owner, Mr. Chatalain has no problem with the grace being said on his station. It is a family oriented network airing such programs as; Gilligan’s Isle, Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy. I am not sure what the future holds for me or the show, but, I sure don’t need to back down from my principles at this stage of my life. I guess in the end I was never meant to be running with them big dogs, sometimes it is just better to stay on the porch. Remember to love everybody and have fun-life is short.
God Bless Karl A. Breaux a.k.a. Cajun Karl