When you plan a vacation in Louisiana, you pick a festival. I chose the Giant Omelette Celebration because it coincided with some free time, because it did not coincide with hurricane season, and because many in my last Louisiana tour group lived in Abbeville and would be at the festival. Only later did I discover the appropriate history:
From the Giant Omelette Web site: "According to legend, when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessieres. Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper which was such a culinary delight that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelette for his army the next day.
From this beginning, the omelette became a tradition to feed the poor of the village at Easter. It has also become the symbol of a world-wide fraternity, rich in friendship, tradition and cultural exchange, known as the Confrerie."
Weren't my trips to visit the homes of my tour groups who visited New York a kind of Confriere?
The giant skillet and the fire. (I was told this was also the street where they shot the most recent remake of The Blob. Fitting, when you consider all of the yolk that goes into this omelette.)
Open to the public, the objective of the egg-cracking competition was to crack the shell, leaving the egg intact. Just a gentle tap. Oh, and you have to do it with a tractor.
This one was a winner.
The parade of chefs, several from Belgium, walk up towards the courthouse.
The pile of egg shells grows. It's a five-thousand egg omelette with an extra egg thrown in for every year of the festival--twenty-five this November.
The chefs dancing. Looks like a page out of a Dr. Seuss book, doesn't it?
The chefs cooking the omelette. There was no flipping; technically, it was more like scrambled eggs.
And it was delicious! I thought it would be more of a gimmick than a real dish. I was wrong.
Here are some of my hosts with Megan Schiering, a local news reporter, who grew up in Cincinnati and whose mother was on one of my tours in late October. Megan and I met at the festival and one of my hosts said, "How can you possibly know our local news reporter?" It reminded me of the day I was walking in Seattle with my friend Tom when three of my tourists from Texas bound for a cruise to Alaska spotted me at Pike Street Market.
A few more tours and I will know EVERYONE in the world!!!
Fun Fact: To be a reporter in this part of Louisiana, you have to sign a contract that stipulates that you cannot evacuate during hurricanes, that, in fact, you have to stand outside for the obligatory rain and wind shots.
Fun Fact #2: Megan told me that a certain national CNN correspondent came down during a minor storm and faked the severity--actually fighting the imaginary wind for a better story while Megan and her crew looked on bewildered.