That pungent smell drifting from the back of the car was becoming overwhelming by July 2006, so I decided it was time to no longer deny it and look for the source. The year was an important one for automobile trunks in the region, many of which were still packed with stuff as we moved to and from post-Katrina locations. The trunk, like the back of vans, had become a mobile living room to our suddenly mobile lives.

Somewhere within, I suspected, the source of the smell existed. It was not an obnoxious odor, but just strong enough to need to be dealt with. So I removed items from the trunk, including boxes and suitcases, one by one working my way through the clutter, following the sensory trail. As I excavated near the bottom I noticed the remains of a badly smashed box. In it was a clump of brightly colored wrapping paper. “Oh no,” I thought as the smell intensified.

Here was the moment of discovery: It was, I gulped, the Christmas boudin.

Each year my Aunt Doris, who lived in the Avoyelles Parish town of Moreauville, gave the same present, but it was a treasure, a package of frozen boudin containing about four or five hearty links. It was the so-called “white boudin” made with pork, rice and seasonings. The store near her home where she bought the sausage sold it either uncooked by the link, frozen in packages or from a crockpot, cooked and ready to eat. At its best the boudin exuded the taste of a seasoned pork snack packaged in its own edible case. (In this, our Best of Dining issue, I can report that the crockpot boudin has perpetually been Moureauville’s Best of Dining.)

By Christmas 2006 we still hadn’t returned to our home and we were living in an apartment on Julia Street. (Our three-foot high artificial Christmas tree came from the K-Mart in Alexandria.) Because we still relied on the trunk as a supply space, the gift got buried. My aunt’s wrapping, probably done as a joke, at least made the bounty easier to spot.

Aunt Doris is no longer with us but her legacy lives on. The refrigerator freezer contains packages of boudin from the same store where she shopped.

Except for an occasional long-lost book or T-shirt, the car trunk is more or less clear. Now at least if anything smells suspicious, it won’t take so long to find it.