Skip to comments.Cajun humorist and chef Justin Wilson, host of 'Cookin' Cajun' and other shows, dead at 87
Posted on 09/06/2001 7:34:30 AM PDT by HAL9000
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Justin Wilson, the Cajun humorist and chef whose distinctive accent delighted viewers of his "Cookin' Cajun'' television show, has died. He was 87.
His daughter Sarah Sue Easterly said Wilson died Wednesday in Baton Rouge. She would not give details but said more information would be released later Thursday.
Over Wilson's career, he released five cookbooks, 27 albums of short stories and an album of Christmas songs. He was host of several cooking programs, including "Louisiana Cookin'.''
He referred to himself as JOOS-tain and became known for the expression: "I ga-ron-tee!'' (guarantee), from the Cajun "J'vous garantis.''
"Cajun cooking is the ability to take what you have and create a good dish and season it right,'' Wilson told The Associated Press in 1990.
"It isn't all that hard, but so few people know how to take what they have and put it together and season it properly,'' he said. "It's creative cooking -- that's all it is.''
"I am a gourmet, but I am more of a gourmand,'' he explained. "A gourmet is somebody that's an epicurean. But a gourmand is somebody that's a P-I-G hog and that's what I am.''
A native of Amite, La., Wilson had lived in Summit, Miss., for about six years, his daughter said.
His last syndicated series of shows was titled "Easy Cooking.''
Wilson called himself a "half-bleed'' Cajun. His father was Louisiana's commissioner of agriculture for 32 years, and his mother, Olivet, was Louisiana French. She taught him how to cook.
"She was a great improviser,'' Wilson said. "She'd cook a dish and we'd go 'Mama, w'at's this here, hanh?' And she'd say, 'Children, that's a mus-go. It mus' go down yo' t'roat.'''
Some Cajuns found his fractured language annoying, but Wilson insisted he didn't mean to ridicule. He said his critics were "people who take themselves too seriously.''
Originally a safety engineer, he was inspired to pursue a career in public speaking after he met Will Rogers in the 1930s.
"He told me always to tell 'em clean, and always tell your audience something serious -- or they'll think you're a complete fool,'' he recalled.
Survivors include three daughters.
Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
He taught me that I could use the palm of my hand as a teaspoon measure for salt.
That doesn't sound like much, but if you've ever tried to bake bread with a 3-year-old, the last thing you need is to have to look for is a set of measuring spoons.
"Now, you put in jes' a leetle bit this Louisiana Hot Sauce. 'Bout a teaspoon full is all."
(Begins shaking the bottle violently over the food. Red jets fly with each shake. Still shaking, he turns back to the camera.)
"Don' wahn git too much, now!"
(Audience begins to titter. The red stuff is still flying.)
"You wanna measure raht so you git jes' about a teaspon."
(The audience is solidly laughing now. Neither they nor he has any real idea how much sauce is in the mix.)
"It isn't all that hard, but so few people know how to take what they have and put it together and season it properly," he said. "It's creative cooking -- that's all it is."