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Born in Opelousas, La., to Cajun parents, C.J. raised our three sons cooking the most incredibly wonderful jambalaya. Like most Cajuns, he just threw things together, as he says, “cooking mostly by smell.”

One day we had very important guests coming over for one of his famous Cajun suppers. About 20 minutes before their arrival, he casually said, “I hope it’s good tonight.” Frantic, I said, “Never again will we HOPE!!!” I had worried for nothing; as usual, it was fabulous.

The next day, C.J. made a jambalaya as I painstakingly placed wax paper between his hand and the pot for every added little pinch of ingredients and wrote it all down . . . now we had his recipe written in stone!

Years later, a cousin who owns a store in Yellowstone asked him to package a mix and let her sell it. “Impossible, it would take hours to prepare, not to mention shipping the fresh vegetables, Cajun roux, etc.” My aunt, who worked all her life in a school cafeteria, said, “any vegetable comes dried and even roux can be made dry.”

Knowing what dried mixes taste like, we decided to try anyway. After one taste we sat in shock, just looking at one another. The same taste without all that work! That’s the same amazement we now hear daily from everyone who tastes Cajun C.J.’s mixtures.

Our grown sons, now with their own families and our grandchildren, are our best and most grateful customers with “Big Daddy” in their kitchens always.

You can only imagine how the other recipes came about and will keep on coming.


Fay DuPont

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