Camp Suppers in South Louisiana
I grew up in Krotz Springs, LA, on the banks of the Atchafalaya River.  Krotz Springs is in the middle of the Atchafalaya basin of south Louisiana.  Going to camp suppers was a way of life.  Camp suppers where usually held at hunting/fishing camps.  The cook was almost always male and the menu was almost always something from the woods or the river.  The flavor was rich, bold and spicy because the food had to match the "bull" that was shot and the "drink" that was drunk.  It was the best and most authentic cajun food one could have, with dishes such at turtle sauce piquante, crawfish bisque, fish courtbouillon, gumbo, smothered duck, woodcock, squirrel or rabbit.  Actually, we smothered (which means slow cooking in a brown gravy) just about anything you could get in the pot.  Anybody might show up to eat.  The word would spread that so and so was cooking a supper, and any of your relatives or friends might show up for a taste, a drink and a good time. 
Outdoor Cooking
The men folk also did a fair amount of cooking at home, and it was almost always outside.  Regardless of the meal or the holiday, if the food was cooked inside it was cooked by my mama, sister or aunt.  But, if it was food that had to be cooked outside, the cooking almost always was done by the men in the family.  This included fish frys or crawfish boils many Friday nights (in those days Catholics couldn't eat meat on Fridays), barbecue chicken, big pots of gumbo, and in modern times fried turkey.  For really big gatherings we would roast a suckling pig in a cochon de lait.  I have fond memories of staying up all night with my late brother-in-law Ronnie roasting a pig in the open end of a tin building by reflected heat from a fire at the back.
Dave cooking outside
Becoming one of the Cooks
As one ages in this type of culture, you gradually become one of the "camp" or "outdoor" cooks.  And over time you develop your own recipes and dishes for which you are known.  I have a cousin who is known for his jambalaya, and when the family gets together he is expected to cook and bring a big pot of jambalaya - in fact no one else dare bring any.  Similarly, another family friend is the main turkey fryer because he has the secret marinade.
My Recipes
So over the years I've developed a few recipes, and will share them with you.  Of course, they are not meant to be followed exactly, they are just a starting point.  Everyone has to add their own style.
©David Wm. Reed

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