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My New Orleans - John Besh


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Ohhhhh my Goddddd...I saw this in Borders yesterday and had a very, very hard time walking away from it. I used my 40% off coupon to get Gourmet Today (I effing love when I get those - I always splurge on a cookbook I otherwise can't afford and won't use anyhow LOL) but I will be going back tomorrow to get this one too!

I did a search and only saw it mentioned in the cookbooks you most anticipate in '09 thread; I *know* some of you already have it and are cooking from it! Please direct me to the thread and food porn at once. LOL

If you haven't seen it, run out and do so - absolutely stunning. It is a cookbook/memoir with beautiful photographs throughout and so many recipes I can't wait to try! Thoughts?

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  • 3 months later...

One thing that caught my eye is the description by Helen Rosner that "keep it simple" as related to just "a flash in the pan" quick preparation method may well be over in its excesses. I remember reading a culinary journal of an anonymous British chef about his experience of learning to cook in France that said largely the same thing.

Judging on the sales and popularity of more traditional French cooking at bookstores and online booksellers, I guess we may be on the brink of a partial return to a more elaborate, more sauce-involved, more transforming style of cooking compared with the trend in the English-speaking world from the mid 1970s until now.

Edited by johung (log)
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I have both Link's book and the new Besh book. I wouldn't consider the Besh book to be Cajun per se; the recipes reflect more Creole & New Orleans, as well as the chef's own style. The Link book is probably more representative of Cajun cooking across south Louisiana. Note: these are pretty subtle distinctions, I admit.

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I have both Link's book and the new Besh book. I wouldn't consider the Besh book to be Cajun per se; the recipes reflect more Creole & New Orleans, as well as the chef's own style. The Link book is probably more representative of Cajun cooking across south Louisiana. Note: these are pretty subtle distinctions, I admit.

I think so too, although I would say it is modified by the Californian obsessions with seasonal local "natural" (i.e. organic non-GE) produce and lighter preparation (which Californian cooking adopted from Mediterranean, chiefly southern France and Italy), with a couple of Pacific Rim style dishes thrown in as well. Compare that with Paul Prudhomme or Marcelle Bienvenue and it is obvious to see Link's quite influenced by Californian cuisine.

Not surprising since Link developed much of his craft in San Francisco.

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Why is all seasonal cooking automatically "californian"? I realize that Prudhomme & Bienvenue's published works may not demonstrate seasonality, but actual cooking on the ground in Acadiana has always been highly seasonal & locally harvested. Seasonal eating habits are readily apparent in south LA populations who know absolutely nothing about Cali cuisine and whose cookbook collections don't extend beyond the local church's spiral-bound fundraiser book.

So many products of coastal LA have specific, limited availability--we eat waterfowl in the fall & early winter during duck season, venison makes an appearance during deer season, etc. (And in the case of waterfowl & deer, wild game can't be sold commercially, so eaters are either hunters or plugged into a social network of hunters.) The same seasonality is true for commercially raised crawfish, blue crabs, brown shrimp, white shrimp, citrus, and so on....

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