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A Few Words About Boudin Balls

Errol Laborde

Not that I have been to many cocktail parties recently, but there have been two where among the items served was boudin balls. On both occasions I was excited to take one, which usually comes with a sauce on the side for dipping; on both occasions I was disappointed. They weren’t bad. They just weren’t special. If they had a taste it was more like deep-fried pork-flavored air – not the savory country sausage.

This made me wonder: Should there be boudin balls at all? Not only is it relatively recently that boudin in any form has made its way into cocktail parties, it’s really fairly new as a city food. I remember boudin as a kid, but only from visiting relatives in the outback. Rather than being factory produced, the sausage, which consists of ground pork, seasonings and rice, was made by local folks working in a backyard as part of a boucherie. After they killed a hog, different foods were made from different parts. The lady who stuffed the boudin into a skin might be working next to the hogshead cheese maker. Boudin balls! It seems too corporate – too much like something that came from a marketing department rather than a meat grinder.

It isn’t that I’m adamantly opposed to the dish, which now has the uppity status of being an hors d’oeuvre, its just that it doesn’t seem right – like someone making crawfish ice cream. (Please don’t.)
Which raises the question: If a party-giver likes boudin so much, why not serve the real thing? Why not buy some links, put them in the oven, cut them into toothpick-ready pieces, and serve – no sauces needed? There will be less deep-fried air and more meat and spices.

If boudin has come to the city, city folks deserve the real thing – at least while they’re waiting for cracklin’ cupcakes.

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