Pat Shingleton: "Mush, Cous-Cous and Pronounciations."
This morning you may be enjoying some hot oatmeal, grits, pancakes or waffles accompanied by a piping-hot cup of Community coffee to get you going. My mother made another breakfast warmer called “mush.” Some familiar with French Acadian cuisine are familiar with “couscous” - a combination of cornmeal and milk. Our late Mom, Grandma Shirley would mix and boil a cornmeal recipe, pour it into a Pyrex dish or tray and refrigerate it. The next morning it was sliced into half-inch squares and fried. We then would smatter the hot mush with butter and syrup. With a hot mug of homemade cocoa, we were ready for the outdoor freeze. My early days in Baton Rouge, the late, Bob Scearce, “The Ole Beachcomber,” and the late sportscaster Jay Townsend taught me the correct pronunciations of cities in the viewing area. Bob and the late Ralph Sims developed a pamphlet for newcomers that assisted in the French and Native Indian cities in the viewing area. Their work contributed to an official guide that is still available today. Before his death, Ralph would contact and correct me, due to my inability to correctly pronounce Vidalia. Named after Don Jose’ Vidal it should be pronounced “vuh-DAL-yuh” like the famous writer Gore Vidal. Meanwhile Fernie Wood, who grew up in that area and former star of “Fernwood Tonight”, alerted me that the city is pronounced “vee-DAL-yuh.” To this day and to appease both, I still refer to it as the city near Natchez, pronounced “Natchez.”