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"Reading Fine Print."

Spice Up Your Life

    Last week the normally mild mannered and infinitely good tempered Lamont McLaughlin came out of recording studio #2, threw his reading material in the “read” basket, and proclaimed in a loud, frustrated voice, “That was torture!”

Alarmed, I hurried into the room to check on him.  A dedicated and delightful reader, he’s not a complainer–in fact, he is so wonderfully easygoing and pleasant it’s hard to imagine him being bothered over anything.  “What did you read that upset you so much?” I asked him,  worried.  Had I not proofread a short story well enough, and inadvertently caused him to read a graphic sex scene?  Did he get assigned ROLLING STONE or ESQUIRE,  and I forgot to warn him about all the “F” words?   

“Spice Shelf!” he spluttered.  “You see, I’m really, really hungry, and as I was reading, my stomach started growling so loudly I almost couldn’t focus at all.  Then my mouth started watering because of all these delicious recipes…I could barely get through them.  Now, can you please tell me where can I find the nearest hamburger place?”

Luckily for Lamont, Smashburger is right down the street.  He’s also not the only one who has had trouble with Spice Shelf.  There’s something about recounting a list of luscious ingredients and then describing how to prepare them into a perfectly delectable meal that makes our volunteers want to forgo reading for another half hour and just go home and cook (or go out to eat!)  

Although I’ve used Louisiana Cookin’, Food and Wine, and Everyday with Rachael Ray as material for the show, most of the recipes used on the program come from Southern Living magazine, which is probably the best source for the kind of cooking we do in New Orleans.  I try to make sure to use recipes that reflect what is currently happening in New Orleans and to promote dishes that correlate to all the holidays, and Southern Living is usually in sync with that concept.  Each issue features foods appropriate to the season (have you seen the cover for September? That photo of the glistening caramel apple blondie pie is practically food porn–check it out while waiting in line at Rouse’s.)  The September issue also has a whole feature dedicated to tailgating, something I’m sure our uninitiated Yankee friends in freezing Wisconsin or Buffalo, New York have no concept of, poor souls.  The Spice Shelf program also holds the record for most often repeated phrase spoken by volunteers as they exit the studio, magazine in hand: “Would you mind making a copy of this page  for me?  I want to try this on my family.”

Of course I don’t mind.  In fact, I may just make one for myself while I’m at it. Oh, and this one looks good too…


You can hear Spice Shelf at 6 pm on Sunday evenings–


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WRBH 88.3 FM, Radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only full-time reading service on the FM dial in the United States. At WRBH, our mission is to turn the printed word into the spoken word so that the blind and print handicapped receive the same ease of access to current information as their sighted peers.

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