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Interview: Linda Green, New Orleans "yakamein lady" 

Will Coviello talks with the city's legendary "yakamein lady"

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Linda Green (www.neworleanssoulfood.com) met generations of New Orleanians during 25 years preparing meals in Orleans Parish school cafeterias, and they recognized her when she first started serving her signature yakamein (the Asian-Creole hybrid noodle soup) at second line parades more than 20 years ago. Since 2005, Green has expanded her soul-food catering to festivals, food events and weekly stints at Ogden After Hours concerts at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. In June 2012, she won a TV cooking competition on the Food Network show Chopped. — WILL COVIELLO

Where did you get your yakamein recipe?

Green: My great-grandmother made yakamein, and when she made it, neighbors would come over with their bowls and sit on the porch. My mother used to sell it at a corner bar, and one day, I said, "Let me try this." So my yakamein has the taste from back in the day, with the soy sauce. But I use beef in mine instead of pork chops or chicken.

What other traditional dishes do you prepare?

G: I do beef and vegetarian yakamein at Jazz Fest, and I also serve macaroni and cheese, but I told Quint (Davis) that my yakamein is going to be as big as crawfish Monica. And I make huckabucks, the frozen cups for children, but a lot of adults get that. At (Oak Street) Po-boy Festival, I do my fried pork chop sandwiches plus my shrimp and crabmeat dressing on French bread, and it's to die for.

What is next for your catering business?

G: I am working on a seasoning for Rouses. It's a powder that you add to water for soup. It'll taste the same as (my yakamein).

  And I am getting my own food truck. It should be ready to go in a month. I'm going to take that to second lines, festivals and events out-of-town. When they say, "Linda, can you come?" I'm gonna start the engine.

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