You're from Lafayette, La., which, I think, is Cajun country, right?
Absolutely. It's right in the middle. At Louisiana-Lafayette, they actually call themselves the Ragin' Cajuns.
Most people probably don't have a real understanding of what Cajuns are really about other than food. It's more than that, right?
Well, wait. The food is a big part of it, though. I didn't realize how much I liked Cajun cuisine and how much I missed it until I got out of the state. There's nothing like that anywhere else. Being away makes me really, really miss the food. But from growing up there, I think everybody has a misconception that we take pee row (boats) to school and our houses float. It's actually nothing like that. It's a great place. Me and my wife will, when it's all said and done, go back and live there.
I think that probably comes from those TV shows, no?
Yes. Everybody watches Swamp People (on the History channel) and shows like that. But come on. Do I really look like that?
So what qualifies as Cajun? It's not a nationality or race or anything. Can you answer that?
Well, it's from the French. But they have their own little language. It's like butchered French. It's really hard to explain. If you've never been around it, you wouldn't be able to understand anything. But they are speaking English. It's unique, to say the least. But the people down there will do anything for you. But if you cross them, they will go out of their way to cross you back. But overall, it's a great place.
We mentioned the food. What is, for you, the quintessential Cajun dish?
Crawfish. Without a doubt. I could eat crawfish all day. It's, by far, my favorite food. I like crawfish etouffee. And I like boudin, if you've ever heard of that. It's like a sausage link, and it's got a casing with rice dressing inside it. You basically suck the meat out of the casing, and there's rice dressing in there. It's really good. It's got the Cajun spices in there, too. And cracklings, too (pork skins).
Our weekly questions: What's playing most on your iPod right now?
I would say a lot of country and a lot of rap. On game day, I like to switch it up to rock to get me in the mood. It all depends on what I'm feeling. If I'm driving, it's mainly country.
What artists do you lean toward?
I'd say Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean. Those two are probably my two favorites.
What website do you visit the most?
Probably Yahoo.com. I get on there every day to see the news and what's going on in the world.
And what reality show are you sure to never miss?
My wife always watches The Real Housewives. So when she's watching it, I kind of get hooked on it a little bit. I find myself not wanting to turn it off. I'm not the one turning it on, but still. As for me, I like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars.
Mason Foster tells me your English bulldog is a big deal in the Cutrera household. Is that right?
Definitely. Me, Dekoda (Watson) and Mason all have bulldogs. My dog is Mac. He's something else. We treat him like a human. He is spoiled rotten. He sleeps all day, and when he's not sleeping, he's getting some kind of treat. We love him. We have this big, huge king-sized bed, and at night, he has to be in the bed touching some part of me or my wife. And he has all this space. We try pushing him away, and he doesn't budge. He's got to be touching one of us. And then sometimes, he'll get up and put his face on the pillow right next to us. He is really something.
Good thing bulldogs don't drool (sarcasm).
No, actually, he doesn't. And most bulldogs do. He's actually an Old English bulldog, so he's different. But he doesn't slobber, and we're real fortunate for that.
So you went to LSU, and I'm guessing it doesn't get bigger than that in Louisiana.
Absolutely not. They are die-hard fans at LSU. And here's a funny, related story. My wife is from just north of New Orleans, and they are huge Saints fans. I have to be the only player in the NFL who sleeps (at their house) in a decked-out Saints bedroom; I mean, bobbleheads and everything. I wake up to Drew Brees' Fathead (poster) every morning. When I wake up in the morning, all I see is Drew Brees. I'm trying to convert them, but they've been season-ticket holders forever. It's really hilarious when you think about it.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]