Louis Armstrong's Favorite Food Was Something Worth Writing About

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong - Bettmann/Getty Images

Legendary trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong has had a profound effect on the world of jazz and music at large. A native of New Orleans, the artist, also known as "Satchmo" (derived from a childhood nickname), was an influential figure during the Harlem Renaissance and well beyond. Armstrong's love of food, much of which originated from his upbringing in New Orleans, had a unique impact on his music, too. Red beans and rice, a dish steeped in New Orleans tradition, was Armstrong's all-time favorite. In fact, his standard sign-off on handwritten letters was "Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours," which became the title of his 1972 album recorded at the National Press Club. If there was any doubt as to Armstrong's love of food, one need only review the liner notes to said album, which included a myriad of the artist's favorite recipes.

The intertwining of Louis Armstrong as both gourmand and musician extraordinaire is also evident in the Orange Satchmo cocktail. A unique take on the New Orleans-born Sazerac, this version substitutes sugar for orange liquor and is so named in tribute to Armstrong. Truly, there is no other musician like the inimitable "Satchmo" who so beautifully brought together the worlds of jazz and food. The dish that would become known as "Pops Favorite" originated as a sort of challenge issued to the woman who would become his fourth wife, Lucille, to test her talent at making red beans and rice.

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Pops Favorite Red Beans And Rice

red beans and rice with sausage
red beans and rice with sausage - Bhofack2/Getty Images

In collaboration with Lucille, Armstrong documented the lengthy process by which the couple prepared Creole red beans and rice. Interestingly, the recipe even recommends taking a laxative 20 minutes after enjoying the meal. Thanks to modern conveniences such as the Instant Pot, there are now quicker processes to making New Orleans red beans and rice; however, the Armstrongs' recipe remains a testament to their love of food and each other.

One of the most beautiful things about traditional New Orleans dishes is the time and dedication put into the cooking process. Be it gumbo, jambalaya, or red beans and rice, the methodical preparation and sincerity of seasoning tastes like comfort in every bite. It's no wonder that Louis Armstrong's affinity for red beans and rice tells just as much about the love he had for his favorite food itself as it does the love he had for his hometown and culture.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.