I loved watching him add "just a little cayenne pepper" to a dish (as he dumps a full cup in!). He'l be missed; he managed to put out a show that was entertaining through his own personal, natural charm, yet still about the food.
I liked his cooking shows, too, and will miss him. Let me offer some background that might suprise you.
Justin made his living as a "Cajun" humorist for many years, but he is roundly despised by many Cajuns because:
1. He was only half Cajun; as I recall his mother.
2. His "Cajun" jokes were all about how stupid the Cajuns are. Such jokes were, in pre-PC times, referred to generically as Polish Jokes. The Cajuns didn't appreciate such jokes any more than the Poles did.
3. His fractured English, tortured grammar, and mispronumciations don't much reflect Cajun locutions. In fact, he had an advanced degree in Industrial Engineering. He spent WW II as an industrial safety engineer in war plants in the north (I think around Detroit.) This was the genesis of all the belt-plus-suspenders jokes. He was way too well educated to speak in the way he presented as "Cajun."
I read all this while I was waiting for my wife to get ready to go out for dinner while we were staying at a nice B&B in New Iberia about 15 years ago. They had a small library in the sitting room, and I pulled down a book on "Cajun Humor" by a professor of English at LSU. (Don't remember the exact title or the author's name; it was probably written in the early 1970's.) A whole chapter devoted to Justin caught my eye, and it sure wasn't what I had expected to read.
Anyway, we outsiders will miss him, his cooking and his humor, but I'm afraid a lot of Bud Lites are being lifted tonight in southern Louisiana in celebration - or at least in relief.
Justin was the one person that made cooking really look like fun. "With a dash o' the wine for da cook, too." You could tell he really enjoyed what he was doing. There was a story on NPR about him, and they said his shows were completely unscripted, kind of like the real food world. We're going to miss you, Justin Wilson.
Yeah that what "we gonna did", we gonna miss him. I enjoyed watching his show every Sunday afternoon, alongside my grandfather. Funny stories he told,as he cooked, great show. I will always remember when he was making his "Swamp Chicken Gumbo"!
As a Louisianaian, it warms my heart to see so many who appreciated Justin (He pronounced his name "Joostan." Justin, who's real name was Pete Wilson, was born a Texan, in Beaumont. He lived his later years in a little town just north of Baton Rouge. He even had a hiway named for him, known here as "Pete's Hiway."
Justin really had three careers; Industrial Engineer, Plant Safety Consultant (this is when he developed most of the Cajun humor, and was known then as "Cajun Pete"), and lastly Cooking show Host and Author (8 cookbooks.)
He was a truly kind man. He knew how to use humor to teach. Mostly he hoped to get all of us to be able to laugh at ourselves. I hope someone can come along soon, and take up where he left off. I need to be reminded occasionally to laugh at myself.
Hooooooo Boyyyyyyy !!!!
from the Bayou .....
[ September 10, 2001: Message edited by: Bayou ]
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