The Saints won the Super Bowl!
I had to get that off of my chest at the onset of this column. I’m published in 30 newspapers throughout Mississippi and Louisiana, and almost all of them run the column on a different day. Some of you are reading this a week after Tracy Porter snagged one of Peyton Manning’s passes and sped 74 yards to seal the deal in the Super Bowl, it’s old news to you. Others are reading with fresh eyes, the next day. No matter when your newspaper decides to publish this column, it is always written at the same time every week— early Monday mornings.
This Monday morning just so happens to be only 12 hours removed from Drew Brees launching the Lombardy trophy high over his head in Miami. Moments before that iconic pose, there was a great shot of Brees wiping tears from his eyes while holding his one-year old son on the field of Sun Life Stadium. It was a great father-and-son moment. No. Actually it was the ultimate father-son moment— reaching a professional pinnacle and a personal pinnacle in one capsulated, adrenalin, and emotion-filled moment.
Twelve hours ago, I was having one of those moments with my son. He’s eight-years old. We’ve been going to Saints game since he was four. We watched the game together in my bedroom. My wife was doing stuff around the house while my daughter was shopping with a friend. My son and I were sequestered in the back of the house wearing our Drew Brees jerseys, with a delivery pizza, a two-liter soft drink, and the Saints in the big game— it was the best Super Bowl party I have ever attended.
During the interception return we were jumping up and down on the bed screaming and high-fiving. As the final whistle blew, and the outcome was final, we were running laps around the room, screaming “Who Dat?” and hugging each other. Who Dat?, indeed.
We turned down several invitations to Super Bowl parties. We were honored, and appreciated the invitations, but I’ve grown a little anti-social when it comes to big football games. I like to sit and focus on the game. My son spent the first half reading a book and glancing up every time he heard me get excited, but the second half we were both glued to the screen, and later dancing on the ceiling.
He’s only eight. He can’t really remember much that happened before he was four. For all he knows, the New Orleans saints are supposed to win the Super Bowl, they are just that good, if only that were true.
One is tempted at this point in the column to run off the standard laundry list of items detailing the Saints misfortunes, bumbling, and suffering over the last four decades, but those days are over. We have exorcized those demons. The New Orleans Saints are World Champions. It is a new day. My son thinks Drew Brees hung the moon (I’m thinking so, too), he thinks that the Saints will win many more Super Bowls (beginning with next year), and he thinks that watching a football game with his father is a blast. For a football-loving father, it doesn’t get any better than that.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that his mind won’t change soon enough on the last point. He’ll have a driver’s license and want to watch the big games with his friends. But until then, I’m going to enjoy every moment of every game that I can.
New Orleans just received enough positive national coverage to wipe out the previous five years of negative news. It’s a new day in the Crescent City. The Saints won the Super Bowl, New Orleans is back, fathers and sons are united, Katrina is a distant memory, and in the words of John Steinbeck, “Once again the world is spinning in greased grooves.”
KING CAKE BREAD PUDDING
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 8-10” round cream cheese filled King Cake
Place the milk, cream and half of the sugar in a small sauce pot and place over medium heat. Bring this mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning. While the milk mixture is heating, place the remaining sugar, egg yolks, whole eggs, vanilla and salt into a stainless steel mixing bowl. Using a wire whisk, beat the egg mixture until it become light yellow in color. Slowly begin adding the hot milk to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
Cut the King Cake into two inch thick slices.
Pour half of the custard into a two-quart round Pyrex baking dish (nine-inch diameter).
Submerge the King cake slices into the custard. Pour the remaining custard over the top and cover the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate over night.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the covering from the refrigerated bread pudding and gently press down the King Cake so that the custard completely covers the surface. Cover the bread pudding with a piece of parchment paper, and then cover the paper with a piece of aluminum foil.
In a roasting pan large enough to hold the Pyrex dish, place two inches of hot water. Place the Pyrex dish in the water and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment paper and bake for 10 additional minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the pudding to rest for one hour before serving.
Serve with Brandy Crème Anglais
Yields 8-10 servings
Brandy Crème Anglaise
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a stainless steel pot bring the cream, half and half, brandy, half of the sugar and to vanilla a simmer. While it is heating, combine the yolks and remaining sugar in a mixing bowl and whip until pale yellow in color.
Slowly begin adding the cream mixture into to yolks, stirring constantly until all the milk has cream mixture has been added. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pot and cook over a low-medium flame stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat a spoon or spatula.
Remove from the heat and cool down in an ice bath.
This sauce may be made two-three days in advance.
Yields : 8-10 servings