When I was a child, I seem to recall that every housewife made at least three pots of coffee a day.  These were always served “sweetened in the pot.”  The first one was the “wake up” pot, and usually the man of the house was served a cup while still in bed.  I got my cup of “coffee au lait” when my dad got his coffee.  Mid-morning, when visitors arrived, another pot was brewed, and of course, there was also the two o’clock coffee.

I don’t recall the first name of the Mr. Hebert who delivered Standard (brand name) coffee once a month to my mother.  He was a nice man who drove one of those little vendor trucks, and besides the coffee, he stocked extracts, spices and household linens.  I remember that Mom got “premium coupons” for the food items she bought from him and she traded these for non-food items.  She got some really nice pots that way.

Remember I told you that when I was 12, we moved from Kaplan to the little town of Perry, on the Vermilion Bayou?  Well, times were hard then and money was scarce, so we could not afford Standard coffee any more.  That was when Mom started buying green coffee beans which she parched in a cast iron skillet on the wood-burning stove and I had the job of grinding the coffee beans in the little mill my dad mounted on the kitchen wall.  I was really proud to have this important job.

I can still remember the aroma of those coffee beans as they browned in that skillet.  And what is more fragrant than the smell of coffee being slow-dripped in a little French coffee pot?

Of course, when the men went out to the marshes to hunt or when they went to Vermilion Bay or Marsh Island or Cheniere au Tigre to fish, they carried a big camp coffee pot.  They made camp coffee by putting the grinds in with the water and boiling the mixture until it smelled strong enough, and then they broke an egg into the pot.  This gathered all the grinds so they did not have to strain it.

For years I have used electric Mr. CoffeeMakers, but they always seem to end up leaking, so last week I bought a blue enamel coffee pot from the camping department of a local store.  It’s looks like the camp coffee pots the hunters used, but it has the stem and basket in it, so I’m having percolater coffee these days.  It’s passable, but not nearly as good as the one Mom used to make.

6 April 2001

Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA

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