Adapted from the archives, with new photos, recipe and links.
When I cook, I hear voices.
I hear Jacques Pepin, Diana Kennedy, Ina Garten and Martin Yan, all urging me to try, experiment, enjoy. I hear Julia Child, or Dan Aykroyd channeling Julia, encouraging me to keep going, even if what I'm creating looks like a googly mess.
When I cook Cajun, I hear Justin Wilson. A humorist, storyteller, and talented home cook who spent the first part of his career as a safety engineer inspecting warehouses in South Louisiana, he hosted a cooking show on public television thirty years ago, long before the rest of the country had heard of etoufeé and andouille.
From Justin Wilson I learned about the Cajun trinity, the basic flavorings that start every soup and stew: celery, bell pepper, and onion. What he actually said was SEL-ray, bell PEP-pah, and un-NYUANH, way up in the nasal back of his throat, and whenever I make anything that begins with the trinity, I hear his voice.