ENTERTAINING MADE EASY Discover perfect pairings to enjoy the art of charcuterie with Columbus Craft Meats

INSIDE COVER AD Cabernet Sauvignon SOPRESSATA Complex Aroma CALABRESE Spicy Finish Red Zinfandel GENOA Mild Sweetness Pinot Grigio

ITALIAN DRY Rich & Aromatic

Pinot Noir


Pale Ale


Pale Ale

Crisp Wheat Beer





Aged Cheddar



Perk up your coffee with Torani gourmet syrups & sauces. J s d s l !

Perfect in hot or iced coffee. Try our other delicious Syrup flavors: Vanilla & Hazelnut (also in Sugar Free) Sauce flavors: Caramel, White Chocolate &

Salted Chocolate Caramel. Available in the coffee aisle.

RITZ "Pine Cone" Pesto-Cheese Toppers

WHAT YOU NEED 4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened 1 Tbsp. basil pesto 16 RITZ Crackers 2 Tbsp. toasted sliced almonds, broken in half 16 small fresh basil leaves MAKE IT MIX Neufchatel cheese and pesto until blended; spoon into resealable plastic bag. CUT small piece off one bottom corner of bag; use to pipe Neufchatel mixture into Prep Time: 5 min. | Total Time: 5 min. Makes: 4 servings, 4 topped crackers each.

oval shape on top of each cracker. PRESS nut pieces into Neufchatel mixture to resemble pine cones. ADD basil sprigs.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 180 calories, 14g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 4g protein

© Mondelēz International group

Awards like Best Grocery Store are only possible because of our fantastic team. We have so many incredible people who are part of our company, and the awards are as much for them as for us. We are beyond grateful for their contribution. We also couldn’t do any of this without our exceptional vendor partners, especially those in the Gulf Coast, for paying attention to the things that matter most to our customers. Every year, we get hundreds of requests by customers from all over to build a store in their neighborhood. I love that you die-hard Rouses fans will drive hours to get a Rouses Gentilly cake, but I’d love even more to make sure you have a Rouses closer to home. Another reason we build more stores is so our team members have greater opportunities to grow in their careers. I think that’s one reason we’ve spent so many years on lists of the Best Companies to Work. Our team members are committed, just like we are, to providing the best grocery services in the region. The holidays are the time of year when families come together and cele- brate with food and drink. That you choose Rouses to be part of that celebration is humbling and gratifying. Of all the honors we earn each year, that is the one that matters most. Here are a few of the awards we won this year: • 225 Magazine, Best Supermarket • Dig Baton Rouge’s BRAG Award, Best Local Grocery Store • Baton Rouge Parents Magazine, Best Supermarket • Gambit Weekly’s Best Neighborhood Grocery Store, New Orleans, North Shore and Jefferson Parish • New Orleans Magazine’s Tops of the Town Thank you for voting us best grocery store! • Gonzalez Weekly Citizen’s Best of Ascension • The Sun Herald’s People’s Choice Award • The Courier and Daily Comet’s Bayou’s Best of the Best, Grocery Store, King Cake and Catering • Times of Acadiana’s Best of 2018 • The Daily Star’s Best of Tangipahoa

leading publication for the food and grocery industry just named Rouses the Southeast Retailer of the Year. We’re by DONNY ROUSE CEO, 3RD GENERATION FROM THE FAMILY A deeply honored to be ranked among the best in the country, and proud to represent the Gulf Coast. But more important to us is that year after year, you consistently vote us best grocery store in your community. For that, we thank you and promise to continue earning your approval and your patronage. My grandfather would have loved all of this. Pa founded Rouses in 1960 with a single store in Houma, Louisiana. He, my dad, and my uncles would go on to build our company into the largest independent grocery in Louisiana, and then one of the largest in the United States. I’m the third generation to lead the family business and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. When we were kids, my cousins and I would tag along with our dads to the stores on weekends and after school, and we are still in our stores every day. The best part of the job is talking to our customers. We listen to you — lately you want more prepared foods, and more of our great store brands — and we focus on that and work hard to bring you the things you need and want. We also spend a lot of time talking to our team members. It’s not just what is in our stores that makes us stand out from our competition — it’s who.


67 Jeaneen Rouse’s Cheesecake 67 Sue Rouse’s Creole Pralines

THANKSGIVING 14 Yours, Brine & Ours by David W. Brown 18 Much Ado About Stuffing by David W. Brown

CHRISTMAS 40 Ambrosia! By Pableaux Johnson

BOOK EXCERPT 44 City of A Million Dreams by Jason Berry

48 What a Wonderful Christmas by Jason Berry 49 Ring-A-Ling by Alison Fensterstock 48 Rent-A-Santa by Sarah Baird 50 Meet Fred Parker by Sarah Baird 56 Rockin’ Around the Christmas Brie by Liz Thorpe

RECIPES 19 Smoked Sausage & Tasso Cornbread Dressing 28 Corn Pudding 28 Sweet Potato Casserole 28 Green Bean Casserole 29 Carrot Soufflé 29 Uncle Tim Acosta’s Cabbage Casserole 35 Dirty Rice 39 Crab Stew 41 Sicily Island Ambrosia 65 Donny Rouse’s Seafood & Sausage Gumbo 65 Mr. Anthony Rouse’s Downhome Oyster Dressing 66 Uncle Tim Acosta’s Stuffed Mirlitons 66 Sue Rouse’s Peanut Butter Fudge 66 Karen Rouse’s Crabmeat Dip 66 Mrs. Rouse’s Cocoons

IN EVERY ISSUE 3 Letter from the Family 8 Contributors 9 Letter from the Editor 10 Eat Right with Rouses by Esther Ellis, MS, RD, LDN

BOXING DAY 80-81 In Tillman’s Corner by David W. Brown

24 Casseroles by Sarah Baird

GIFTS & ENTERTAINING 62 Homemade for the Holidays by Ali Rouse Royster 72 Our Holiday Gift Guide

ON THE COVER Yours, Brine & Ours Cover Photo by Romney Caruso

34 Dirty Work by Pableaux Johnson 38 Roux & Stews by Marcelle Bienvenu


Uncommonly magical holidays, om our tree to yours .

’ Tis the season for buttery Club crackers, deliciously topped Town House crackers, and per fect for dipping Town House Pita crackers. No matter what tree you’re celebrating under.

uncommonly good

© 2016 Kellogg NA Co.


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©2018 Smith eld Foods



SM8-285 AWG Shopper Ad - REVISED

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Finished Asset: Yes

7 everyday NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018




is the author of the books New Orleans Cock- tails and Short Stack Edition: Summer Squash . Her work appears regularly in/on

is a Mandeville resident and has been a profes- sional photogra- pher for over 25

is a world-class cheese expert. PATTI STALLARD is a freelance copy editor, proofreader and copy- writer with decades of editorial experience in both the marketing and publishing arenas. A native New Orleanian and a culinary devotee, she was part of many creative teams that crafted ADDY award-winning campaigns for a variety of clients, including tourism, professional sports and higher education. A Yale graduate, she left a “normal” job in 2002 to work the counter at New York’s famed Murray’s Cheese. She is the founder of The People’s Cheese, author of the Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love and The Cheese Chron- icles , and coauthor of The Murray’s Cheese Handbook . Her work and interviews with her have been in everything from The New York Times to Men’s Journal to The Oprah Magazine and NPR and The Today Show . ALISON FENSTERSTOCK is a music and culture writer and founding program director for the Ponderosa Stomp roots- music festival. Her work appears in Rolling Stone and SPIN , and on NPR. is a food and travel writer and photographer and was named one of 2017 Epicurious’ 100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time. A native of New Iberia, Louisiana, Johnson is the author of three books. He is a contributor to The New York Times, Saveur, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun and Bon Appétit. PABLEAUX JOHNSON years. He has styled and photographed food for hundreds of local and national publications, and for several cookbooks. His portrait series of chefs and bartenders, titled “Shakers, Knives & Irons,” was recently displayed in New Orleans and Los Angeles. LIZ THORPE

Saveur , EAter , GQ , First We Feast , PUNCH and Food & Wine , where she covers everything from the siren song of the Flora-Bama Lounge in Orange Beach to the legendary fig trees of Baton Rouge. She was the longtime food editor and restaurant critic for the New Orleans alt-weekly, Gambit Weekly , and won Critic of the Year in 2015 for her dining reviews.


is cookbook author, food writer and chef/instruc- tor at the Chef John a

Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. A native of St. Martinville, in the heart of Cajun country, Bienvenu wrote Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux? and Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine with Eula Mae Dora , and other books and cookbooks. She also co-authored five cookbooks with Emeril Lagasse.


is an author and docu- mentary film director. Up from the Cradle: New Orleans Music Since World War II , his music history,

was published in 1986. An expanded new edition, updated with the history of the music scene in the late ’80s, was released in 2009. He received a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship for research on jazz funerals.


is a Baton Rouge- based author and regular contributor to The Atlantic, The Week and

Mental Floss . His work also appears in Vox, The New York Times, Writer’s Digest and Foreign Policy magazine. He is a regular commentator for television and radio. KACIE GALTIER is an illustrator and one of our talented chalk art- ists. She is a native of Houma, Louisiana. You can see her designs and art in our stores all over the Gulf Coast. ​


www. rouses .com

Many Jewish folks like us celebrated Christmas like it was a national holiday rather than a religious one. My cousins and I were all about Santa. Every year, the eight of us would pile together into two beds and, every year, my clever Uncle Marshall would lull us to sleep with tall tales of his imaginary great-great- uncle, a cowboy named Slats Gottsegen. Slats was the hero of every story. He ran a deli in, of all places, Cheyenne, Wyoming, with his wife Sarah. The villain was Bart Finkelstein, with Abe Pincus playing a starring role. In one story, Abe was credited as the inventor of Styrofoam. (Years later I was disappointed to discover that the inventor of Styrofoam was not Abe, but a Dow Chemical engineer named Ray McIntire.) The next morning, pajama-clad and bursting with excitement, we’d check our stockings for candy and line up by height in front of a curtained door to see what Santa brought. My grandfather would pull back the curtain and open the door with a flourish. And there they were: unwrapped gifts laid out in every available space, something for each cousin— it was like a children’s fantasy- land. After feasting on presents and a quick breakfast, we would gather and exchange gifts. My grandfather always played master of ceremonies, and one by one — the tree practically lifted by the presents piled high under it — we watched as gifts were offered and opened. There were sweet gifts, romantic gifts for spouses and funny gifts — my favorite being a tie with food stains passed around each year between my grandfather and uncles. It was always presented as though it were new, in a perfect Countess Mara box. With 15 people, the gift exchange, a fun but excruciat- ingly long marathon of merriment, took all day. A few days after the festivities, my grandparents would head back to Alexandria; Lea’s pies, Clara’s chopped liver — and sometimes the cat food — all long gone, just money lost at the racetrack. With New Year’s Eve mere days away, my dad’s mother, Granny, would arrive from Shreveport. She was in charge of babysitting us when the clock struck midnight. As a treat, she gave us a pink squirrel, a sweet cocktail the same shade as Pepto-Bismol. We thought it was so fancy and special! But Granny knew she’d be in bed before midnight because, with that touch of liqueur in us, we’d never make it to see the ball drop. Even now, I think fondly of Granny every New Year’s Eve, and toast to her memory (though usually with champagne instead of pink squirrel). The memories we make in the holiday season define who we are, remind us where we come from, and inspire and rekindle traditions that know countless generations. In this issue of Rouses Everyday , we commemorate the holidays, the memories we made and the food we shared. As you flip through these pages, I hope you feel the same joy that I felt on Christmas Eve, one of eight children mesmerized by the adventures of a cowboy named Slats.


e all have our own way of celebrating the holi- days. For my mother, it was never too early to get a Christmas tree (or too late to take it down; ours W usually lasted past Mardi Gras). Despite my sister Courtney’s arguments for a flocked one, Mom insisted on getting a fresh Frasier fir — the tallest one on the lot. My father, though big in stature, lacked in height, and thus needed a ladder to string the lights and place ornaments where my three sisters and I couldn’t reach. When the tree was as stuffed as a turduchen, our neighbor, Bob Pettit — yes, that Bob Pettit, the basketball star — would come over to place the star on top. Bob was so tall he had to bend over to come in the front door, so he was well-suited to this task. The tree and Christmas decorations — particularly this one giant, light-up plastic Santa who sat by the fireplace — made it feel like Christmas, but it wasn’t until my maternal grandparents from Alexandria arrived that I knew it was Christmas. Their car would come up the gravel driveway, the back seat filled every year with sacks of pecans from our camp on the Cane River, my grandmother Sophie holding pies — chocolate and coconut — from Lea’s Lunchroom in Lecompte, a 20-minute drive away (but only 15 if my grandfather — Barney Oldfield, he called himself when he got behind the wheel — was driving). Christmas Eve always kicked off with cocktail hour before dinner with my grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My dad’s Uncle Herbert could never wait for the meal. Instead of joining everyone in the living room, he’d poke around the kitchen. Clara, our nanny who helped raise me, once stopped him mid-fork as he was about to take another bite from a plate of cat food he’d confiscated from the refrigerator thinking it was her famous chopped liver.

9 everyday NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018


There are only so many tips to give — holiday baking swaps, tips for not gorging yourself at the holiday party — that I think I become a bit holidayed out. I could tell you how many calories are in your favorite dishes or suggest you eat a salad first to fill yourself up prior to the big feed — but I think you’ve heard it before, and I’m pretty sure you know what to do. Isn’t it funny how much emphasis we put on these two months? Coordinating family schedules, cooking the perfect meal, buying the perfect gift, planning parties — and, of course, stressing over a couple of added pounds. A recent survey by Healthline found that one of the biggest holiday stressors is healthy eating and exercise, second only to concerns about finances. The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, filled with cheer, not fear. Too often we get in our heads and forget to enjoy the moments as they come. If we can attempt to declutter our brains and be present in the moment,maybe we’ll be present with what we choose to eat as well.This holiday season, I challenge you to worry less about what’s next and focus on what’s now. One way to do this is to practice mindful eating, which I’ve mentioned before. A practical way to incorporate mindful eating is to frequently check in with yourself during a meal: Are you still enjoying the food? Are you still hungry? If not, don’t feel the need to finish every- thing on the plate. Take time to practice gratitude for the effort it took to get your food from the farm to your plate, and always try to eat free from distractions like cell phones and television. Before you reach for the snacks, only allow yourself to pick your very favorite, no matter if it’s a chocolate chip cookie or a piece of fruit.This way, you truly enjoy what you eat and feel satisfied. Incorporating these tiny steps into your holiday (and everyday) eating routine will help you be more present in the moment. That way, you can feel good about your food choices, enjoy your company, and not worry so much about what’s to come or the New Year’s resolutions loom- ing just around the corner. AS A DIETITIAN, I’M ALWAYS SKEPTICAL OF WRITING FOR THE HOLIDAY ISSUE.

LOOK FOR THE LOGO Our registered dietitian has hand- picked more than 500 grocery items that have lower sodium, saturated fat, healthier fats, more fiber and less sugar. Just look for the Eat Right logo on the shelf tag or package.


GROCERY STORE TOURS We offer complimentary tours designed to teach you how to shop your local Rouses. Tours are available by appointment. To schedule a tour, email eatright@ Food that’s good for you and tastes good too! Our Eat Right with Rouses meals, side dishes and snacks are created by our in-house chefs and registered dietitian. They’re sensi- bly sized, made with better-for-you ingredients and suited to specific dietary goals or restrictions. Options include high protein, low sodium, low calorie, dairy free and no added sugar.


Our Eat Right health fairs are fun and educational and a great way to learn how healthy can taste good, too. Visit to see what Eat Right events are going on in your neighborhood.

10 www. rouses .com

11 everyday NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

authentic italian foods Visit our website for easy weeknight Italian recipe ideas! | Follow us@delallofoods

Classic Italian Sausage & Vegetable Tortellini Soup

12 www. rouses .com

Made in Ireland with milk from grass-fed cows, it’s a taste that says a thousand words. Kerr ygoldUSA .com

3744 KG ad / Rouses 7.625 x 4.825” v5B final rose de Heer design

Add Some Fresh to Your Table

For fresh recipe ideas visit ©2018 Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. TM & ® Trademarks of Dole Food Company, Inc.

13 everyday NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018



Last year, Rouses Markets sold OVER 1 MILLION POUNDS OF TURKEY for the holidays. This year, that number will grow to 1.6 million because of the expanding number of stores. Sell that much bird, both prepared and frozen, and you learn a thing or two about how to really make a turkey sing with flavor, and how to awe Instagram with that beautiful, crispy brown skin. Turkey is a hard bird to prepare properly; a little too long in the oven and you get a bird as juicy as sawdust. A little too short, and you get food poisoning. To find out how you might make the best Thanksgiving turkey ever, I asked the experts at Rouses for advice on how to do it right. Here is what you need to know to make this year’s Thanksgiving dinner a success.

14 www. rouses .com


The most important thing you need when you’re preparing a turkey dinner, according to Rouses Markets Corpo- rate Chef Marc Ardoin, is a meat thermometer. “When you are cook- ing a big piece of meat like that,” he says, “you’re going to want to have a meat thermometer handy to check the internal temperature.You don’t want to get anyone sick.”The thermometer should be inserted into the joint of the leg and thigh. Don’t push it in so far that it touches bone; the thermometer makes its reading within the first inch of the probe.And gone are the days of hard-to-read, easy-to-stain analog thermometers; you can find everything from inexpensive digital varieties to Blue- tooth ones that tell your phone when the turkey is ready. Ardoin does not recommend trusting the little plastic pop-up thermometers that feature in many frozen turkeys. “It was a great thing for back when nobody had a thermometer to go by, but I take those out,” he says. “Use an actual thermometer that has been calibrated properly. I’ve heard enough horror stories of people getting sick that I don’t trust them.” Moreover, on the subject of food safety, Ardoin strongly urges safe handling procedures when dealing with raw turkey. Wash your hands regularly, and wipe down counters and nearby items with soap and water or Clorox wipes. “I’m always concerned during the holidays that people are trying to do so much that they forget about the safe handling of their turkey. Clean as you go, and sanitize and sterilize everything.” He says to keep raw items cold and hot items hot. If you have to take something out of the oven to make room for some- thing else, maintain the temperatures of the items removed. “It’s very easy a lot of the time,” says Ardoin, “to work with raw turkey, and some of the juice from the turkey, or some of the blood, can splatter. You don’t realize it, but it gets on some- thing that you are going to cook with, like salt, or on other food nearby on the coun- ter. Be careful.”

The brine is absorbed into the meat of the turkey, which helps to keep it moist during the roasting process. A brined turkey can be roasted at a higher temperature for a slightly shorter length of time, which also helps the meat retain its moisture. (A non-brined turkey roasts lower and slower.) The Food and Drug Administra- tion and U.S. Department of Agri- culture both recommend roasting your bird to an internal temperature of 185 degrees. (This is true whether you grill it, smoke it or roast it.) For a brined turkey, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Do not use the convec- tion setting. Roast the turkey for 20 minutes, then lower the oven temper- ature to 325. Cooking times will vary based on the size of the bird. Plan for about 15 minutes per pound, regard- less of total weight. (Your biggest limitation will be the size of your oven.) To protect your turkey from


If you are going to roast a turkey, you will want to buy it at least four days before Thanksgiving, because it will take a while for the bird to thaw in the refrig- erator. You have the option of leaving it out to defrost in the sink, but it might not be the best course of action if the nearest hospital is too far from home. If you must do a sink defrost, you can buy your bird two days early and let it sit in the sink overnight with water running over it (the safest way to do a non-fridge defrosting); it should take about seven hours to thaw. That’s a lot of running water… Once your “birdsicle” is totally thawed, you have a few options for preparation. The most common and traditional way is a standard roast. First, brine your turkey. This is a process that involves fully submerging the bird overnight in a solu- tion of water, salt and other seasonings.

15 everyday NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

browning too quickly or drying out, create a foil “tent” to cover the turkey breast.This will help insulate the quicker- cooking breast and maintain its moisture. Remove the tent for the last 20 minutes of cooking for that nice, crisp, golden- brown skin. If you are celebrating Thanksgiving with Chef Ardoin this year, you’ll discover his secret for preparing the most flavor- ful turkey imaginable. “I like making a little compound butter and sticking it beneath the skin,” he says. He takes soft- ened butter and mixes it with salt, pep- per and fresh herbs — chopped parsley, green onion, fresh sage and rosemary. He puts on a pair of kitchen gloves (“Again,” he says, “safe handling practices.”) and separates the skin from the breast meat without tearing it. He takes the softened butter and gently works it beneath the skin. This keeps the breast moist and fla- vorful and crisps the skin nicely. “When that skin renders out, you can see flecks of herbs underneath sitting on the turkey breast. It’s beautiful and has a great fla- vor,” he says. Another method of preparing a turkey is called spatchcocking; this method has become particularly popular in the last few years. Spatchcocking involves carving out the turkey’s backbone and spreading the spineless, featherless fowl on a baking sheet with the breast facing up, the bird splayed open. It will slash the cooking time while allowing you also to indulge any latent and grisly Halloween impulses. The finished product will re- tain its moisture better simply because it doesn’t have to cook as long. To spatchcock a turkey, you will want first to brine it, just as you would a bird for a traditional roast. When ready to roast, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, brush the turkey with oil and, depending on its weight, cook for 70 to 90 minutes. (A 12-pound turkey will take approxi- mately 70 minutes.) Because your turkey is splayed open with no center cavity, a safe internal temperature is 165 degrees. Once the roasting is complete, you’ll discover a very even cooking of the legs, thighs and breast. (The breast is typical- ly the part of the bird that suffers most THE SPATCHCOCKED TURKEY

during a traditional roast, drying slowly over time. By opening the turkey with this technique, the breast will be far juic- ier and have more flavor.)

So you’ve roasted your turkey. The family is gathered around the table, and you stand, Charles Dickens-style, carving knife in one hand and carving fork in the other. It’s time to carve the bird. The order is pretty straightforward: Remove the legs and thighs, and separate them. Carve the breast meat. Remove the wings. Every- thing goes onto a platter. But what if you slice into the turkey, look inside, and find a pink, translucent mess? Your turkey is undercooked! What do you do? “To bring a turkey back to life,” says Ardoin, “the easiest, fastest and safest way to get it fully cooked is to cut the rest of the turkey off of the bone.” He suggests carving as stated above, setting the parts on a baking tray, and sticking the whole thing back in the oven. Don’t put the uncarved turkey back in the oven whole, he says, because the parts fully cooked will completely dry out. Rather, he says, expose as much of the raw, uncooked turkey to heat as possi- ble so that it cooks faster and is finished evenly. “Again,” he says, “that’s why you use a meat thermometer. It’s the easiest way to avoid this problem.” What about the opposite prob- lem? You carve into the turkey and it’s like plywood: the bird is an overcooked nightmare. “There’s nothing you can do about that,” says Ardoin. “You can’t resuscitate it, but you can take it and shred it and use it to make a turkey pot pie, because it will braise in the sauce. Or you can make turkey salad with a mayonnaise-based dressing. But that’s about all you’re going to be able to do with it.” IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY ! ! !


Rouses is on a mission to make this Thanksgiving the easiest and most flavor- ful ever. The stores now carry brine bucket kits that take the guesswork out of preparation. The buckets include two giant resealable plastic bags and a salt- and-seasoning mixture. To create your brine, boil the mixture in about two quarts of water. Afterward, cool the solu- tion before mixing it in the bucket with a gallon of ice water.Wash your turkey, pat it dry, and submerge the bird in the brine, adding a little more ice and water to keep the bird submerged and its cavity filled. Seal the bucket and let it soak overnight. The next day, pull out the turkey, pat it dry, and get your oven ready for roasting.The brine bucket is a great all-in-one pack- age for people who don’t know seasoning ratios or don’t have the tools to do the job. And if you don’t have room in your fridge for a big brine bucket, you can use the included plastic bags. Drop the turkey in one, pour in the brine, and seal it. You can protect it from catastrophic leaks with a second bag. (It’s not a bad idea to lay the double-sealed brining bird in a roasting pan.) And don’t worry: The bucket includes a recipe card that tells you everything you need to know. But it can be even easier than that.What if I told you that you didn’t have to do anything at all to prepare your turkey? That you could just…pick up a perfectly prepared bird, and then tell everyone how hard you worked on it? Rouses offers two fully prepared, tradi- tional Thanksgiving dinners: a basic meal that includes a turkey and such sides as cornbread dressing, peas, gravy and rolls. It also offers a premium dinner with more sides in greater quantities. In addi- tion, you can buy the items à la carte: You can order only a prepared turkey or only a ham, or such items as sweet potato casse- role by the pound, gravy, cranberry relish, and macaroni and cheese. The meals are designed for families to get from box to table in about one hour.

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For those weekend-long Thanksgiving extravagan- zas, where the family rushes at midnight to the mall for doorbuster deals, Rouses also sells Thanks- giving party trays with items like finger sandwiches, egg rolls, muffalettas and cheeses. What makes the Thanksgiving offerings from Rouses special is an attention to local cuisine and culture. “Most traditional sellers don’t sell shrimp and mirliton,” says Michael Westbrook, Rouses director of deli cold cuts and sushi. “We sell oysters Bienville, which is an oyster dressing. We sell lots of rice dressing, and that’s also very unique to this part of the country, and we try to make sure our meals are geared toward what our customers would be eating for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. Our comfort food.” Ordering for holiday meals begins on November 10. Stores will have tables with order forms set up near the deli sections. Holiday sides will be avail- able for customers to sample, and if you like what you taste, you can place your orders on the spot, or later by phone, and pick up the meals just before the big day.The two busiest days for pickup are the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving morn- ing (yes, the stores will be open). The meals are completely prepared, and the customers need only heat them in the oven or on the stove when they get home. The meal boxes come with instructions for how to heat each item. In recent years, many Rouses customers have chosen to pick up their dinners much earlier — not for Thanksgiving Day, but for special meals called Friendsgiving feasts. “It’s where friends come together to have a celebration separate from Thanksgiving Day, where people generally already have family traditions. It’s an interesting new phenomenon.” Anyone who would like Rouses to prepare a dinner specially timed for their own Friendsgiving celebration need only request the earlier day and time to pick up their meals. But let’s say it’s Thanksgiving Day, and you’ve tried to prepare the dinner of your dreams. The family is all around, plates in hand and ready for round one, but when it comes out of the oven, dinner is an inedible mess. The turkey tastes like tree bark. The sides are watery bowls of despair.The rolls can double as baseballs. Rouses will do what it can to help. We absolutely do our best to not turn away an order,” says Westbrook. “We have had customers who walk up on the day of Thanksgiving, and in all circumstances our stores go above and beyond to help. We know it is an important holiday for fami- lies.” If you turn up an hour before lunch without having pre-ordered, there’s no guarantee, of course, that a prepared turkey will be available. But the team will do what it can to save the day. “We go out of our way to make sure we take care of you.”

Make turkey bone gumbo with the leftovers. Get recipes at .

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18 www. rouses .com photo by ROMNEY CARUSO

Stuffing and dressing are not different names for the same thing although the names are often used interchangeably. In short — and this is a good way to start a fight at theThanksgiving table that doesn’t involve politics—you don’t need a turkey to make a dressing, but you definitely need one to make a stuff- ing (or at least some sort of animal that has been hollowed out and stuffed with food). Dressing shoved inside of a turkey is stuffing. Stuffing prepared in separate bakeware is dressing.And that’s it! Anyone who argues with this is wrong. It is the vessel of preparation that makes all the difference. “I personally do a cornbread, smoked sausage and tasso dressing for the holidays,” says Marc Ardoin, corporate chef for Rouses Markets. “Part of it involves rendering down the smoked sausage and the tasso, and caramelizing the onions.” You won’t likely see that kind of edible magic in a stuffing.Moreover, a dressing prepared in the oven gets a nice brown crust whose corner pieces cause fights among family members for the last bit of it. It can be prepared much faster, and if you need to bring a dish to dinner, it’s a good one to choose when someone else has claimed rolls. It would seem an open-and-shut case for dressings, then. (Cornbread, smoked sausage and tasso? I mean, what could possibly compete?) But then you talk about what turkeys do to stuffings, and, suddenly, you’re faced with a dilemma. You stuff your bread-seasoning-celery-onion mélange inside of the bird, and as it roasts for hours in the oven, it is imbued with the rich flavor of poultry juices as they drip down through the turkey right into the stuffing. (Note: A stuffing needs to reach 165 degrees to be sure that no raw turkey blood survives the roasting process.) Good luck getting your Pampered Chef stoneware to imbue turkey juice. So what is a Thanksgiving cook to do? I asked Marc his preference — he is the chef, after all — and he confessed to preferring regular dressings. “I like that nice crunchy bit around the outside,” he said. Some of the best sausage in the South is made at Alabama’s Conecuh Sausage Company. The family-owned company has been operating in the small town of Evergreen since 1947.



2 tablespoons canola oil 1 pound smoked sausage, diced ½ pound tasso, cubed 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 cups onion, diced 2 cups celery, diced 2 cups green bell pepper, diced 2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Paul Prudhomme Poultry Magic 1 bunch green onions, chopped ½ bunch parsley , chopped 2 tablespoons sage , chopped 1 quart chicken stock 2 pounds prepared cornbread (bought from Rouses Bakery) cut into cubes

HOW TO PREP 1 Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, and cook the smoked sausage to render the fat, around 5 minutes. 2 Add the tasso and cook for an additional 2 minutes 3 Remove the sausage and tasso from the pan, reserv- ing the fat. Place the cooked meat on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess grease. 4 Add the butter to the reserved fat from the sausage and tasso into the pan; heat until melted. 5 Add the onion, celery and bell pepper to the butter and reserved fat mixture in the pan, and cook over medium heat. 6 Scrape the bottom of the pan with your spoon to release the fond from the bottom of the pan. This will help give a little more color to the vegetables. (You can add a little of the chicken stock to the pan if necessary to help loosen the stubborn bits.) 7 After the vegetables have cooked down and caramel- ized, add the garlic and Poultry Magic to the pan, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 8 Combine the cubed cornbread, tasso and smoked sausage, cooked vegetables, green onion, parsley and sage in a mixing bowl. Toss until completely mixed. 9 Transfer the dressing mix to a 9x13 pan, and pour the chicken stock over the mixture. 10 Preheat the oven to 400°F, and bake the dressing for 45 minutes until a golden brown crust forms on the top. 11 Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

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CREAMY ONION DIP INGREDIENTS 1 envelope Lipton ® Recipe Secrets ® Onion Soup Mix 1 container (16 oz.) sour cream 1/2 cup Hellmann’s ® Real Mayonnaise METHOD 1) Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Chill, if desired. 2) Serve with your favorite dippers.

The Secret to Great Tasting Recipes!

©2018 Unilever

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Nowyou can take Inland Seafood home with you

Inland Market Premium Foods makes delicious, restaurant-quality seafood products, available at your local Rouses. Madewithpride in theU.S.A. Inland Market Premium Foods is a division of Inland Seafood. Proud to be an Employee Owned Company

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HOWDOES YOUR COFFEE CREAMER STACK UP? ©2018WhiteWave Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ©2018 OREO and the OREOWafer Design are trademarks of Mondelez International Group

Molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of minerals that promote your health.

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A Protein-Packed Kit for On-The-Go Mornings Get crispy flats, crunchy nuts, dried fruit and creamy Greek Yogurt in New Quaker Morning Go-Kits



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CASSEROLES WHEN IT COMES TO MOST DISHES the finished product that pops out of the oven is almost always an improve- ment on the ingredients that went into it. Just think about a crusty hunk of French bread: One whiff of the loaf as it’s placed on the cooling rack, and you’re ready to sink your teeth into its crackly goodness. But would it be quite as exciting to eat a few spoonfuls of the flour that serves as the bread’s foundation, or the yeast that ensures it’s full of those deliciously chewy air bubbles? I seriously doubt it. by SARAH BAIRD

The same goes for the sweet side of things. The ingredients that — through time, science and a little bit of culinary magic — compose your favorite caramel frosting might seem appealing on their own, but unless you’re ready for folks to seri- ously worry about your health, both physical and mental, you shouldn’t be gobbling down sticks of butter or cups of sugar anytime soon. In the kitchen, the whole is (mostly) greater than the sum of its parts. Casseroles, though, are different. More often than not, even after being baked to gooey perfection, you can still taste — and differentiate between — the various pieces of the larger casserole puzzle. When Great-Aunt Jean plops her signature broccoli and cheese casserole down on the holiday table, you know you’ll be able to taste each element of the dish, together and apart: the comforting ooze of the cheese sauce, the healthy snap of the broccoli and the crunch of the bread- crumb topping. Casseroles offer us a


way to appreciate ingredients both for what they are and what they’ve been able to build together. This kind of responsibility can also be a little bit hard on casserole ingredients. If a dish falls short or is downright bad — say, the tuna in your tuna noodle casserole has gone a little skunky — people know exactly where to place the blame. (Note: please do not serve skunky tuna.) But it also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the ingredients and what they bring to the table all those times when we’re able to find pleasure in their familiarity and warmth. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present the first ever Casserole Compo- nent Appreciation Awards, brought to you by my love of comfort foods — and what I’m assuming is yours, too.

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THE CASSEROLE SIDEKICK AWARD STARCHES COMMON INGREDIENTS: RICE, BEANS, PASTA OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES “As with any dish, start with the freshest, best seafood you can. It always counts. Get the fresh shrimp just out of the water and the just-picked crabmeat, and your casserole will beat every other one at the Thanks- giving table. Conversely, if you use cheap, imported, low-quality seafood, your casserole will taste like it. Don’t do this to your family.” (Words of wisdom from Chef Ryan.) Everyone loves to take sidekicks for granted. From action movies to classic cartoons, it’s easy to simply assume a fearless hero’s sidekick is going to be there to serve as a second-in-command and, ultimately, help save the day. The same goes for casseroles, where side- kick ingredients — the pasta, rice and beans — do the heroic labor of quietly fleshing out the dish, all while ensuring that their superstar meat-and-veggie coun- terparts are heaped with praise. So, yeah, no one really wants to be the unfortunate soul whose slice of casserole is starchy sidekicks only, just like no one wants to watch an episode of Sein- feld strictly about George Costanza. But, ultimately, the sidekicks add a level of roundedness and support that ensures a casserole is a holistic meal-in-a-dish. They are, undoubtedly, the starchy workhorses of the casserole. I’m even a notorious fan of tuna casserole — which, I know, is deeply polarizing — and have been known to serve it as a dinner party entrée to, uh, mixed reactions from guests. “A casserole is a baked dish that is meant to meld differ- ent ingredients, so that when they come together, the whole is more rich and robust than the ingredients. I think of seafood casserole in a similar way to gumbo, where the seafood is cooked into the base, contribut- ing to the whole dish in a different way than a quick grilled shrimp or sautéed piece of fish would,” says Chef Ryan Prewitt of Pêche in New Orleans. And, as with most dishes, the fresh-is-best motto rings true. (Sorry, my beloved canned tuna.)


Ah, the casserole superstars. These are the ingredients that lend the casserole its name — shrimp and mirliton casserole! chicken and rice casserole! — and make us want to whip it up in the first place.They’re the components of the dish that you’re fishing for when a scoop lands on your plate, hoping that the ratio of meat-and-veggie-to-other-stuff has skewed in your favor. And across the Gulf South, there’s a genre of casserole that’s long been a part of family repertoire but, for some reason, continues to baffle cooks in the rest of the country: the seafood casserole. Like etiquette “rules” about not wear- ing white after Labor Day and always passing the salt and pepper as a pair, there’s the long-held culinary adage that fish and dairy just don’t belong together — ever. Fortunately, we’ve ignored that to our delicious advantage. With seafood as the foundational ingredient — whether shrimp, crawfish, crab or whatever is freshest out of the water — casseroles can embrace a decidedly local flair, all while retaining a more delicate, lithe texture and flavor profile than a helping of casserole in which ground beef is the hulking, macho star. THE CASSEROLE SUPERSTAR AWARD MEATS AND VEGETABLES COMMON INGREDIENTS: BEEF, CHICKEN, GREENS OF ALL KINDS, SEAFOOD

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THE CASSEROLE THIRD WHEEL AWARD SOUP, SAUCES AND BEYOND COMMON INGREDIENTS: CREAM OF [FILL IN BLANK HERE] SOUP, CHEESY MORNAY SAUCES, A ROUX Look, I see you over there, rolling your eyes about cream of mushroom/broccoli/celery soup. That might be nice for some people, you’re thinking, but that’s just not for me. You make your own kombucha. You have a window box full of fresh herbs. The vendors at the farmers market know you by name. I get all that. But I promise: You are not too good for canned soup — particularly when it comes to casseroles. A casserole’s thickening agent — which, historically, has often been a commercial, condensed soup — plays the all- too-pivotal role of binding everything together when the dish is bubbling up in the oven. Without it, a casserole-in- the-making is simply meat and starch, lonely and dry, with- out that crucial component that brings the whole gang into an edible bear hug. Arguably, the binding agent is what sets a true casserole apart from, say, a lasagna or a shepherd’s pie. Not to launch into a culinary semantics argument — à la “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”—but the fact that a casserole requires its thickening and binding agent to play a role that’s just as pivotal as the superstar and sidekick ingredient’s role is, in my estimation, what truly sets it apart. (Can you really say the same for even the most sauce-packed lasagna? Didn’t think so.) The casserole is truly a work of teamwork and cohesion. Above all else, casseroles are dishes meant to be shared: served up to a gaggle of eager feasters on fine china or paper plates, around fancy candlelit spreads or in the office break- room. And even if the thought has secretly crossed your mind (guilty as charged), no one really wants to take on the task of eating an entire casserole on their own — it’s just too darn depressing. Casseroles’ group magnetism also means that they’re often — quite literally — on the move. Whether you’re lugging a stack of chicken-and-rice dish to your in-laws for Thanks- giving or trying out a new recipe at a White Elephant present swap, your casserole needs to achieve that fresh- from-the-oven taste, smell and consistency, even if it’s spent BEST CASSEROLE ACCESSORY THE INSULATED CASSEROLE TOTE

a couple of hours in the car being hauled from Mobile to Orange Beach. Enter the insulated casserole tote — your casserole’s new best friend. A curiously specific creation that seems like it was born to star in a late-night infomercial, the casse- role tote is a padded, thermal bag into which your favor- ite creation can be snugly tucked and then safely carried without fear of spillage, sloshing or temperature-change malfunctions. Most often sized to fit a classic 9x13 baking dish, the totes typically range in price from 14 to 40 bucks and offer varying degrees of insulation promises when it comes to just how warm it can keep your homey creation. There are also some seriously tricked-out versions, like one from Rachael Ray that comes in multiple sizes for accom- modating non-traditionally shaped casserole dishes, to a double casserole tote that’s built for cold dishes on the bottom and hot on the top, to an official Pyrex version that promises complete heat retention for several hours. Like any good accessory, the totes also allow the cook to express their individual personalities.There’s a watermelon- patterned casserole tote, versions made with funky tie- dye fabric and several of the jewel-tone variety that seem downright regal. Perhaps most important, there are also Saints-themed casserole totes, because of course.

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can DIY their own unique spin on the dish. Some reci- pes become green bean-anchored tributes to French onion soup — complete with gruyere cheese oozing over the top. Other families swear by adding bacon to the mix, for obvious reasons, or they up the creaminess by swirling in a dollop of ricotta or cottage cheese. If you’re looking for a way to elevate your green bean casse- role to quasi-fine-dining status, Jamie Brown of Bouil- laBabes Catering in Baton Rouge has a few tricks up her sleeve. “I fancy mine up by doing a trio of mushrooms — shiitake, baby bella and oyster — that I first sauté in butter and garlic, then top the finished dish with grated Manchego cheese for a subtle nutty finish.The result is so mouthwater- ing and delicious!” (You can also do what I do and just call the green beans “haricot verts” with an exaggerated French accent.) At its vegetable-filled heart, green bean casserole embodies the best of what casseroles can provide: a serving of nostal- gia-tinged comfort during a time of year when thoughts — and stomachs — turn towards memories of home.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE The swirl of mushroom-y, umami goodness. The zippy, munchable bite of French-fried onions. And that flash of emerald holding it all together! If there’s one dish that’s sure to turn heads when strutting down the holiday table red carpet, it’s green bean casserole. Created by Dorcas Reilly in 1955 for the Campbell Soup Company, green bean casserole has become pretty much synonymous with the time of year when the weather (hope- fully) turns a little colder, and hot toddies are socially accept- able to sip no matter the actual temperature. Reilly created the dish with the hopes it would be something simple fami- lies could whip up with ingredients that they already had stocked in their pantry. “It’s very tasty if it’s made the right way,” Reilly’s husband, Tom (now 91) told the New Jersey Star-Ledger in 2017. “It’s a very simple meal. It’s comfort food.We’ve heard many people recognize it as the original comfort food.” It’s also infinitely malleable, which means every family


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