Many were disappointed this past Mother’s Day weekend when Bob Baumhower’s LA Gumbo Festival was cancelled in Orange Beach. The threat of inclement weather was too much for the multi-day event. But organizers have not forgotten about you gumbo freaks, and a new condensed version is being chiseled out as we speak.

Save the date for Oct. 4. They figure they can get all of the excitement into one Saturday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. at the Wharf in Orange Beach. Of course they plan on having arts and crafts vendors. Live music is also a must at these events. And don’t forget about football. No one would dream of having you miss the game. There will be a colossal-screen TV playing the biggest events of the day as well as the hundreds of televisions in the Baumhower restaurants. There will also be, um, what is it? Oh yeah, gumbo!

Plan on sampling some fine roux as teams compete in the gumbo masters competition. They will also need your help for the People’s Choice awards. You don’t mind, do you?

Remember the 4,000-pound pot that serves up the “world’s largest bowl of gumbo?” That will be put to use in a different way at this event. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to fill that pot to the rim so that local charities may benefit from the festival. Don’t worry, friends, the bowl has plans to return to its intended use again next March.

While it seems the festival has its act together already, the planning is still in the early stages. We will let you know as soon as more details come our way.

You put the lime in the coconut, you drink it all up

Food trucks are all the rage right now. What about a water truck? This one sounds like it is weird enough to make it. Get ready, Baldwin County. Coco Bay of Daphne is on the go, refreshing your residents with delicious, fresh coconut water. What’s the big deal? It’s served in a coconut.

Not just any coconut. We are talking organic, fresh, U.S. grown coconuts. Follow the earth-toned VW microbus with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction for your very own taste of summertime. Coco Bay is for hire and on wheels for weddings, parties, wedding parties, receptions and pretty much any other event that could benefit from subtropical hydration.

Be sure to look up Coco Bay of Daphne on Facebook to follow them on tour. Become a Coco local and enjoy the benefits of coconut water. You may find it is a healthy alternative to city water. I’m sure those poor folks in Detroit would go loco for some Coco Bay.

I’m not so sure about the laws of Daphne and surrounding cities, but I do not think Coco Bay can allow you to “spike up” on the side of the road or in a children’s park. But if you are interested in mixing up the perfect daiquiri or pina colada, the fine folks in the bus are glad to tap and then re-plug the coconut so you may take it home for your preferred use. That’s not so nutty after all.

Museum opens new food series

I’ve eaten in museums. I’ve played guitar in museums. I’ve even sung in museums with choirs at soirees with catered food. But I have never been to a museum to learn about the artistic value of cuisine.

The Mobile Museum of Art has set aside one Thursday per month for a new series known as “The Art of the Entrée.”

Different local chefs will be guiding attendees through the museum speaking of inspiration for taste, texture, scent and beauty. Following each presentation, guests get to see and taste the chef’s masterpieces.

The first evening of this series is Thursday, July 24 at 7 p.m. and will feature Chef Marty Pollack of the Trellis Room at the Battle House Hotel. For ticket prices contact Howard McPhail at 251-208-5205, and look for updates on future chefs by logging onto www.mobilemuseumofart.com.


Easy zucchini casserole

If you don’t have a garden I hope you are friends with someone who does. I get a little bit of produce from Mr. Bubble from time to time, but the man does have an appetite. It isn’t as regular as I’d wish. Here’s a great recipe I concocted this weekend that even the novice of novices can handle. The trick is to harvest zucchini when they are fairly small and tender but firm. There is no reason to join the Giant Squash Club. It ruins everything.

About eight smaller zucchini cut into half inch discs
One half of a Vidalia onion sliced
12-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
12-ounce can cheese soup
Bread crumbs
Shredded parmesan

Boil the zucchini and the onion until tender. Drain and transfer to your favorite casserole dish.

With a spatula coat the vegetables with mushroom soup, then coat the mushroom soup with the cheese soup.

Top with a generous amount of breadcrumbs and a light to decadent amount of Parmesan. Remember Santa Claus is watching.

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees until bubbly.

I served mine with baked pork chops with onions and was tempted to top the casserole with grilled onions, but some people don’t enjoy onions as much as others. Lucas was not a fan, so I knew it was perfect. Experiment with it. Add some meat. Make it a one dish meal. Just enjoy yourself in the kitchen. It’s not work until you are getting paid for it. Recycle!