Once upon a time, I printed a little newsletter called The UpBeet Gardener. This was before e-mailed newsletters, mind you. It was fun to publish, though printing, folding and applying all the stamps took a full day. Topics included organic gardening and photography tips, unusual recipes, lifestyle ideas and inspirations. The newsletter reached people in 70 countries and was part of my www.plantea.com, a website featuring PlanTea (plant + tea), a tea bag-size, organic fertilizer I developed and patented.
Yes 1996 seems like ancient history in web-speak, yet the site did reach people. It soared to a Number One position on Google, and stayed there for three years–mostly due to the numerous articles I posted.
But things change. In 2003 we started Galley Gourmet, a gourmet dinner cruise business on our 42-foot yacht, built a new home and opened the Cliff House B&B here in Kodiak, Alaska. So while I no longer sell PlanTea (though I’m still looking for an interested buyer), folks still asked about the newsletter. Subscribers sent emails wondering what I was up to. “I’d like to receive your newsletter,” they wrote. And I wanted to stay in touch, too.
I’d always loved the term, lagniappe, so that’s how I transitioned from newsletter to blog. But, you might wonder…
What is Lagniappe?
A lagniappe (lan-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th potato when buying a dozen).
The word is derived from the South American Spanish phrase la yapa or ñapa (referring to a free extra item). In Andean markets it is still customary to ask for a yapa (translates as “a little extra”) when making a purchase. The seller usually responds by throwing in a little extra. Although this is an old custom, it is still widely practiced today in Louisiana. Street vendors, especially vegetable vendors, are expected to throw in a few green chillies or a small bunch of cilantro with a purchase.
The word is chiefly used in the Gulf Coast of the United States, but the concept is practiced in many places, such as the Spanish-speaking world, Southeast Asia, North Africa, rural France, Australia and Holland.
So, that brings us to the present…
Thank you for being here,