I had the opportunity to meet Peggy Sweeney- McDonald, author of Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde, a couple of weeks ago. Peggy created a dinner party show that was also called Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde. In the show, different “foodies” would come and discuss the stories about their love of food, favorite dishes and more. Some of the guests are seriously famous, others are more of local legends. But food is the common denominator amongst these people- they love food- the taste, smell, stories- love how food unites people and creates memories. From the show came the idea of the book. A fantatsic coffee-table book filled with stories from the who-who’s in the food world to the local legends.
Peggy was a charming, fun lady- filled with laughter and fun stories. Listening to her talk, I could have sat with her for some time just to hear the stories, the experiences- she’s like the ultimate cocktail hostess- makes everyone feel comfortable, keeps people laughing and makes the time just fly by.
I’m about halfway finished with my copy of Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde– and it’s just chock-full of good stories and pictures. It’s a perfect coffee table book- a perfect conversation starter.
For readers curious about the title- Peggy’s dad filled me in while she was talking to another couple. He said that Cafe Du Monde had played such a big role in Peggy’s life- it was a hang-out, a place to visit- a place to enjoy good food. The story continues that Peggy and others would gather at Cafe Du Monde and talk stories, and then clink glasses together and say “Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde”- hence the name of the book. Peggy later told me that each person has a story- and your story may not be about Cafe Du Monde- but “Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde” is representative of the good food and stories- no matter where they originate.
Now, my own personal “Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde” story. A few weeks ago, Deep South Magazine was giving away a signed copy of Peggy Sweeney- McDonald’s book, Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde. To potentially win a copy- you were to share your Cafe Du Monde story. I shared mine and Peggy picked mine as the winner.
My First trip to New Orleans was an eye-opening experience. I went with my boyfriend and his family. His mother was determined that I see the real New Orleans- so while we stood in line at Cafe Du Monde for what appeared to me as minitature funnel cakes, I was unsure if this was worth the wait in line. However, once I took a bite out of the powdery sugar goodness- I was a fan. But, my real “Meanwhile Back at Cafe Du Monde” experience happened a year later. A roommate and I decided to spend our Spring Break in New Orleans. For an entire year- I’d been raving about how the great beignets and we were going to go to Cafe Du Monde. Problem is, I’m directionally challenged. So we left our hotel in search of Cafe Du Monde. And Walked. And Walked. And Walked. My roommate sees a Krispy Kreme and says “Let’s stop here- I’m hungry and a Krispy Kreme is got to be as good as Cafe Du Monde”. I turned around and said “NO! We have to find Cafe Du Monde, we must eat beignets- coming down here and settling for Krispy Kreme is like going to the beach and not getting seafood!” Luckily, we found Cafe Du Monde right after that. We walked in and sat down. Ordered our drinks and planned the rest of our day. Then the beignets came out- all beautiful and sugary. My roommate took a bite and said “You may be directionally challenged, but you sure know good food. I’ll never doubt you about food again.” We ate at Cafe Du Monde multiple times during our Spring Break trip.