Mary Tutwiler

Snack food of the swamp

by Mary Tutwiler

Thought you’d tasted everything? It seems, an undiscovered Louisiana delicacy has been floating right under our noses. Or perhaps right under the bows of our pirogues. Graine à voler in Cajun French, or American Lotus to everybody else, the huge, sweet-scented late summer bloomer of the swamps turns out to be a choice snack food of those in the know. Pluck the green seed pods and split them open to reveal the large, grape-size seeds. Raw, they are addictive, according to Houma native Derek Usea. “When you start, you can’t stop,” he told the Houma Courier. Usea also simmers them with crab boil, while his mother, Shurlene Usea prefers simple salt water. “I’m 60 years old,” she told the Courier, “and I’ve been eating graine à voler for 60 years.”