November 25, 2007
New Orleans is known for its rich culinary history and has recently taken steps to honor its many contributors (Burton Benrud and Wayne Maher, Café Du Monde; Jacques Leonardi, Jacques- Imo's Café; John Besh, Restaurant August; Tory McPhail, Commander's Palace; Frank Brigtsen, Brigtsen's; Michael Regua, Antoine's; Leah Chase, Dooky Chase's; Willie Mae Seaton, Willie Mae's Scotch House; Craig Cuccia and Don Boyd, Café Reconcile; Kenneth Smith, Upperline; Ross Eirich, Galatoire's; Susan Spicer, Bayona Restaurant; Tenney Flynn, GW Fins; Aldolfo Garcia, RioMar,; Eric Venéy, Muriel's Jackson Square; John Harris and Beth Biundo, Lilette; Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing, Longbranch; Bob Iacovone, Cuvée; Thomas Wolfe, Peristyle; Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Restaurant to name a few) with the first being Omar the Pie Man
Before Katrina, New Orleans City Council had established a $10,000 endowment to honor Omar Bin Abdul-Aziz. Finally, last month a plaque was dedicated in the French Market, where many have enjoyed the services of Omar the Pie Man. His supporters are hoping, on a prayer and some pie, to raise $50,000 for a well deserved statue to accompany his honorary plaque.
Born James Anthony Shannon, Aziz acquired his moniker as a marine after contracting malaria. His perseverance and will to live had every one referring to him as Bin Abdul Aziz (long living servant of God). Actually I looked it up and it translates to something like the son of the most highly esteemed almighty, but nonetheless , he was a survivor! The Times-Picayune's Maria Montoya chronicled Omar the Pie Man this weekend because, though he and his baking wife Haneefah have both passed on, he in 2002 and she in 2005, their legacy lives on in their pies and the new bakers The Peadens who are operating out of Lapalco Boulevard in Moreno, Louisiana. The Southern Sweet Potato Pie Co. is located at 5346 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero. For information about the Omar the Pie Man fundraiser, call (504)¤340-7845 or (504)¤328-2221.
You can read the fascinating article here:
Having recently appeared on the Home Shopping Network, Gloria Peaden is expecting great response. So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, being a creole, as ya'll well know by now, I LOVE sweet potato pie just as much as any other sweet eater, and of course I want to see any New Orleanian project themselves back from the wash out of Katrina ( hopefully with your help). AND most importantly I want us to keep the spirit ALIVE! We can conquer anything with mind, spirit and heart! Love of self and love of your dream! NOW, have a slice of pie, with coffee and chicory and enjoy your NOLA SUNDAY!!!!!!!
This YouTube video by DocNO productions features Omar Bin Abdul-Aziz Jr. at the dedication of his famous father's plaque.
Taken from the sadly out-of-print New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Cookbook, copyright 1984.
SWEET POTATO PIE
3 cups cooked, peeled and mashed sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 - 3/4 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
Mix the potatoes with rotary beater until they are smooth. Then add the other ingredients to the potatoes and beat for 5 minutes. Pour filling into unbaked 9" pie shell, bake for 40-45 minutes at 350-325. Can also be served with a favorite topping: hot rum sauce, ice cream or whipped cream.