LouisianaCulinaryTrail2Embrace slow food in Louisiana on the Boudin Trail with road food and local eating in casual places. Don’t dress up for this culinary delight; settle in to Lake Charles in Southwest Louisiana and follow the trail involving Interstate 10 and state highway 90.

Do talk between bites of this regional blend of pork, rice, onion, parsley, garlic and peppers.

You’ll be meeting generations of Creole, Cajun and German families who created this mix, each with a variation they consider the favorite.

To the east of this Trail, liver finds its way in family boudin recipes. In Southwest Louisiana, families prefer long links and balls the size of oranges for their boudin (sounds like boo-dah).

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The Visitor Center on Lake Charles is a helpful stop for National Scenic Byway MP3 players and maps of the Boudin Trail.

Four generations in some cooking families, still in the kitchen.  Wished my three generations of children had been along to see these grandmas so happy the children were living the life they had.

“We live off this,” Jeff Bineau of B&O Kitchen told me; his 82-year-old grandmother lives next door and works four hours each morning.

“Some people eat doughnuts for breakfast; we eat boudin balls.”

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Sausage balls and links hand crafted for generations now found in abundance along the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail.

Fun loving, this food, I’m guessing. Six little communities wind along the Boudin Trail and they hold 75 festivals among them each year. They’re prepared.

2009 was the year the Trail became official so expect maps and signs and assistance finding your way.

If you can, book a motel with a kitchen, or take a cooler. Stuffed meats distinguish these family groceries. Regional cuisine. De-boned chicken stuffed with jambalaya, crawfish, cornbread and rice sound enticing?

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Kevin Downs is the recipient of this cook-off award and his style boudin can be tasted at The Sausage Link in Sulpher, Louisiana.

I recommend what hubby and I did: pack a picnic from a boudin shop and eat along the 180-mile National Scenic Byway. Worth driving the whole distance.

If you do, pick up the MP3 from the Lake Charles Visitor Center—loaded with audio and info about the Byway sights.

Top photo: The Mardi Gras Museum in Lake Charles, Louisiana features colorful costumes and animated robotic figures.