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RDJ-- Greek Shrimp Pasta Salad, 08-11-12  RDJ
 Aug 13, 2012 15:43 PDT 

Volume 15      Number 143
US Library of Congress ISSN: 1530-3292

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Greek Shrimp Pasta Salad

1/2 (16-oz.) package rotini pasta
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Greek seasoning
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound peeled cooked medium shrimp
1 cup chopped tomatoes (1 large tomato)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 (2.5-oz.) can sliced ripe black olives, drained
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Lettuce leaves (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well, and set aside.

Whisk together lemon juice and next 4 ingredients. Gradually add oil in
a slow, steady stream, whisking until blended. Cover and chill until
ready to use.

Combine cooked pasta, shrimp, and next 4 ingredients in large bowl.
Drizzle with vinaigrette, tossing to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour. Serve
on lettuce-lined plate, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

(nutritional info not available)

By Walter Mills

Drowned City of Dreams

When I was a boy of eight or nine we visited my aunt and her family in
New Orleans. I don’t remember anything about the city except for the
endless bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, but I do recall that my
cousins spoke with accents so strong and strange that they might have
been speaking a different language. We took traps down to a nearby bayou
and spent a day scooping up crawfish. That evening my aunt and uncle
boiled the crawfish and poured them out in big shining red heaps on
newspapers laid out on the kitchen table.

Even as a young boy I liked the drive along the Gulf, the long white
beaches and the old Southern mansions up lanes lined with wind-twisted
oak trees. I would lay down my book and look out at the small towns
passing and the calm waters of the Gulf shining off into the horizon.
The towns seemed neat and modest, without gaudy hotels or cheap tourist
shops. Even the mansions seemed like historical markers more than they
did the homes of people flaunting their wealth or lording it over the
poor folk.

I did not get back to New Orleans until I was grown, but it was always
there in my mind, the literary New Orleans of Tennessee Williams and
Walker Percy, passionate, bourbon- soaked city of desire. It was the
kind of place, if you wanted to be a writer, where you might live for a
year on beans and rice with a typewriter and a ream of white paper,
spilling out your soul in a small room with wooden shutters .

When I finally made it back to New Orleans it was better than my sketchy
literary daydream. The real city was peopled with colorful characters,
tiny local cafes with cheap food, music in the air, and smells, like the
roasting coffee blowing down from the French Market or the hibiscus that
bloomed in the hidden courtyards. You could live in New Orleans cheaply,
the way you could once live in San Francisco on very little, and the
city provided all its best entertainment for free, or for the price of a
beer at a sidewalk table.

Instead of a year in New Orleans, I spent my year with a typewriter up
the road in Baton Rouge at LSU, heading down to the city whenever I
could. It was about that time that John Kennedy Toole’s comic novel of
New Orleans, Confederacy of Dunces, was finally published to great
acclaim, after the author’s suicide, providing a thousand would-be
novelists with confirmation of their own unrecognized genius.

Ten years later I returned with my new bride to New Orleans, where we
stayed in a little hotel in the French Quarter on Toulouse Street. We
lay by the pool in the hotel courtyard while geckos climbed the
whitewashed walls. We took the streetcar Desire down to the zoo and
walked the shaded streets of the Garden District, where the big houses
are, protected behind their wrought iron fences. Hardly anyone was on
the streets, but from behind the garden walls drifted the whir of the
sprinklers and the sound of hedge clippers.

Sunday morning found my wife and I on Jackson Square for a walking tour
of the French Quarter. The white-haired lady who led our tour talked
about the Garden District, where she was born in one of the big houses
and where she had lived all her life. Chirping her tales and darting
about like a wild bird in a billowy summer frock, she seemed to embody
the resilient energy of the fantastic many-cultured city.

Where is she now, I wonder, this woman who cried because her beloved
city museum, the Cabildo, had burned. How many tears has she shed for
her drowned city? “We cannot go to the Cabildo,” she told us. “The
Cabildo is no more.”

And now we cannot go to New Orleans. The streetcar Desire doesn’t go
there anymore, through the drowned city of our daydreams. Its cafes are
empty and its citizens have scattered to the four corners of the
country. An irreplaceable part of our national identity fled with them,
washed away when the levees broke and the deep waters rose above the
roofs of the city.                      

Read more of Walt's writing at his blog:

(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright © 2012 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To
contact Walt, address your emails to    awmi-@verizon.net ).

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