LeBoeuf has a love affair with cooking

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2000

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / September 6, 2000

“One thing I’ve got is a good cook,” Willie LeBoeuf says of his wife, Nell. Heshould know since he has been married to her since she was 17. Before shemarried, though, Nell didn’t cook because her mom, Leona Oubre, did not want the kids in the kitchen. “Cooking is for me,” she would say, “so go dosomething else.”So Nell didn’t learn to cook from her but from her mother-in-law, the late Edna LeBoeuf.

It was from her Nell learned to cook what have now long been her specialties and family favorites – cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers with tomato gravy and white beans.

The LeBoeuf sons, Larry, Sonny, Todd and the late Darryl, always wanted those dishes when they came over, especially the cabbage rolls. It stillamazes Nell that the first things she learned to cook are the first things her boys want.

“The daughters-in-law won’t try it because it’s too much trouble,” she believes.

Every Saturday they have anything cooked with tomato gravy. “In the recipebooks,” Nell says, “the gravies are mostly baked, but I like to make mine in a pot on the stove.”Baked chicken is also a favorite, and Willie likes it cooked in an electric frying pan. Nell will cook just anything they want and likes to look for differentrecipes in books. She uses browning bags a lot to bake pork chops, roast andeven chicken, and when the daughters-in-law saw how good the food came out for her they started using them, too.

Nell likes them because “you can go do other things while it’s cooking, like go to church.”She cooks a number of different ways, and every day they have a different meal. If there are any leftovers they freeze them in small quantities for twopeople and if Nell should go shopping, Willie has something already cooked. Ifsomeone comes over, they just take out more.

A love affair with cooking doesn’t keep Nell from other obligations and activities. When she visits her mom at the nursing home, spending most ofthe day there several times a week, she volunteers and pitches in to help the other residents as well. This includes doing bingos, feeding others, rollingthem to meals and attending to their needs. Sometimes she brings themgoodies she makes since she also has a love of baking and gets them things from the store. Nell feels it is important to help everyone while she is there. Whenever Willie catches up with his duties at his own home, he goes with his wife to the nursing home, too.

“Before I die” was the wish of Nell’s Aunt Net, Mrs. Amelus Duhe, now ofPaulina, for Nell to learn to make her divinity fudge. Now, everywhere shegoes, people want Nell’s divinity fudge, but she really likes baking cakes, too, especially pineapple upside down cake. Willie likes for her to make strawberryshortcake like his mother made from self-rising flour, but Nell uses Bisquick because it’s easier.

For two and a half years this Garyville native cooked for guests at the Godchaux-Henderson Guest House where they loved the cheesecake with blackberries she made. Willie sums it up saying, “I am glad I have a good cookbecause I love to eat.”Following are the recipes Nell shared with us:

CABBAGE ROLLS 3 lbs. ground beef (lean)3 tsp. salt2 cups rice uncooked 2 tbsp. parsley3 tsp. onion powder or 1 large onion2/3 c. parmesan cheese1 tsp. garlic powder2 large heads cabbage 1 large jar Ragu

Scald the heads of cabbage in boiling water. Cutting away the leaves, put abig serving spoon of filling in each leaf and roll. Add the Ragu and one jar ofwater or make your same sauce you would for spaghetti. Cook on top ofstove for 1-1/2 hours or in oven for 1-1/2 hours. It freezes well. Makes 40rolls. If you don’t want as much, half the recipe.


6 large bell peppers 1-1/2 lbs. lean ground meat1 cup. raw rice (cooked)1/2 medium onion 1 rib celery Pepper, garlic salt

Cut tops off bell pepper. Chop finely onions and celery. Add to meat, riceand seasoning. Mix together, fill peppers, put aside until you make thetomato gravy. Put into a large pot 26-1/2 oz. spaghetti sauce, any flavor,14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, 8 oz. tomato sauce and a small can tomato paste. Cook to a boil then add stuffed bell peppers and cook on medium for about an hour. Season to taste, pour over rice.


3 cups sugar 1/2 cup water 3/4 cup light Karo syrup 3 egg whites 1 tsp. vanillaPecan meats

Boil sugar, water and Karo until mixture forms a long thread (238 degrees).

Add hot syrup to stiffly beaten egg whites. Add vanilla and pecans. Drop bytsp. on waxed paper.

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