I love the concept of a bakers dozen, or a free licorice stick passed over the counter, or that extra layer of giving - packing the moment with pleasure that can come with a gift, a purchase, a performance, or a meal. With my wedding cakes, it is that extra-intense element, perhaps pistachio marzipan leaves or chocolate espresso buttercream rosettes. It is a form of - often unexpected - good will, generosity, courtesy, kindness: it is lagniappe. It is also, if I may be allowed some leeway, what a garden gives back, which is always something more than what we put in. Example: I have blueberries bushes in my back yard that produce about four gallons a year. Wow. Sure, I feed them ashes from my fireplace and primo compost, and I weed, but they consistently create a second (!) bloom! I pick into mid November; these bushes were planted by Mary Bews, a schoolteacher who lived here long before we did. I worship those bushes, by the way.
Strudelwise (i.e. stretched so thin a bible could be read through the dough), lagniappe is that seemingly endless flock of birds that passes overhead before winter - surprising you with its mysterious purposefulness and raucous bird sounds, or the great sunset when you really need it; lagniappe is the thing that good teachers do to let you know you amaze them, what grandparents do all the time, and lagniappe is that intense feeling of joyful privilege at witnessing some small but cosmic thing your child does - smile, cartwheel, gurgle, sleep.
This image - a painting by my son, who is an eleven year old visually impaired student at Perkin's School for the Blind - recently was displayed at the Watertown Mall, and perhaps elsewhere. He says,"I used rough rope and smooth leaves. They felt really different from each other.". I love lagniappe.