The Great British Baking Show: Walton Edition, Episode 33 – Louisiana Week

It’s not easy to choose from all the different culinary jewels to be found in the Pelican State, but our bakers stepped up to the challenge! Come on in and see what we cooked up for Louisiana Week!

“In 2018, Louisiana was ranked as the least healthy state in the country, with high levels of drug-related deaths and excessive alcohol consumption, while it has had the highest homicide rate in the United States since at least the 1990s.” But the food is to die for!

Since it was Mark’s idea to do state themed bakes, we’ll start with him. This is Mark’s Red Beans And Rice. It fit the age old requirements necessary for all male cooks to receive praise for kitchen craftmanship: it was hot, brown, and there was plenty of it.

And now it’s healthy!

There was meat in this stuff, to be sure. Gator? Nutria? Maybe just plain old sausage? Who’s to say? I can’t remember, and it’s much more amusing for all of us if I just make something up rather than ask Mark for the real answer. So let’s say it was specialty boudin made from real New Orleans street cats and grade A giraffe meat.

Look, I don’t mean to sound negative, but we all hated Louisiana Week. Instead of making it easy on ourselves and bringing four different types of delicious beignets, we all chose the savory route. And we all regretted it. While this was not the week we have all hated most (that would be Depression Era Week – coming soon!), I think it’s fair to say that this was nobody’s favorite week, and it was the consensus that there was no real winner here, just one baker who lost least.

Okay, enough bellyaching. On with the countdown!

This is my Gumbo Jambalaya. It was full of delicious shredded chicken, andouille, shrimp, peppers, dirty rice, and okra. So. Much. Okra.

Never having cooked with okra before, I wasn’t familiar with just how much slime is produced. I mean, everyone who knows anything about okra knows that okra is famous for slime, but there was SO MUCH SLIME. It doesn’t have a favor, but it was so texturally off-putting that no one wanted to partake of my food. And the irony is that it tasted really, really good before the okra went in. But no matter how good your food tastes, no one wants to eat it if it’s suspended in plant-based snot.

Mandy pulled out all the stops and gave us her Cajun Crab Boil With Red Beans & Rice! If we voted for bakes based on effort, Mandy would have won hands down. Unfortunately for her – and through no fault of her own – we judge based on taste.

Mandy’s red beans and rice was great, but it was meant as a side to be served with her boil. And therein lay the problem. Despite being cooked perfectly, roughly half of the ingredients in the boil were permeated with an unpleasant and strangely unidentifiable bitter sourness.

When I said earlier that Mandy’s food got this weird sour/bitter taste through no fault of her own, I meant it. Just days after this bake, my brother attended a boil in North Carolina which was plagued by the exact same bitterness. We were able to eat part of Mandy’s food, but my brother’s neighbor wasn’t so lucky: nearly the entire boil was rendered inedible, and they had to order pizzas for all their guests. So what Mandy experienced is either a common faulty recipe, or, what I think is more likely, a product of the North American mass food distribution system delivering subpar lemons and/or seafood.

Last but not least we have Dan’s Crab Cakes. They were slightly burnt, as you can see, and uneven in size. And to the best of my recollection, that is the end of the list of problems.

Look at the interior of these beautiful bastards! They were light and flaky with a nutty fried exterior and a wonderfully meaty texture. Like I said, none of us were crazy about the food this week, but Dan’s crab cakes made it a lot more tolerable. And that’s why Dan was this week’s Star Baker!

Be sure to join us next time when we journey back to the grim days of fireside chats and crowded bread lines. Our bakers will attempt to recreate and subsist on the foods that saw our grandparents through the darkest decade of American history, 1929-1939. Join us then for Depression Era Week! And as always, until next time, bon appétit!

And we never even remembered to open this stuff.

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