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Louisiana Cookbooks: favorites (merged)


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As part of the discussion going on among the tourists over in this thread concerning Gumbo and the right way to make it, Kristin (a lovely and talented cook of many Cuisines who lives in Japan) announced that she has a ton of cookbooks and that NONE of them concern the subject of Louisiana Cuisine. Well, I gave her a short list of some that I would consider essential:

The Cotton Country Collection

This book, in my mind anyway, is the best collection of recipes ever assembled in Louisiana. Recipes from all over the state, Delta, Acadiana, German Coast, Piney Woods, and everywhere else. I have cooked damn near every recipe in the book over the years and there are no bad ones. The directions are great and the skill levels involved go from dead simple to you better have a grip on Julia's French Cooking.

River Road Recipes Great collection of recipes, with some of hthe best seafood collections I have ever seen.

The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cooking Get a copy of this book. Just go buy it. Send me a thank you note for telling you to do so.

Emeril's Real and Rustic This is the reason, ultimately, that I respect the guy. His first book and a great one.

I can go on with, literally dozens more, but I go on enough here. There are probably 20 Jr League type books that I would reccomend, along with the Times Picayune/Madame Begue's combo that is now sadly out of print-then there are the Church books and the NOPSI collection (New Orleans Public Service Incorporated used to collect recipes and stick them in utility bills and on the little holders on the streetcars-this ultimately turned into a great collection of recipes that has been published into a book).

Favorites? Reasons why?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I was going to add Marcelle Bienvenu's Who's your mama, are you Catholic, and can you make a roux?: A family album cookbook . . . Then I notice that Amazon has copies available from $190 (US)! I nearly fell on the floor. This is for a plastic spined roughly 100 page paperback. I am in shock.

Marcelle collaborated with Emeril on the book that Brooks listed. This small book is a treasure as you get an inside look into Marcelle's family history and traditions along with the great recipes. If you can find it at a reasonable price it is worth getting if only for the stories.

I endorse Emeril's book wholeheartedly.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cooking Get a copy of this book. Just go buy it. Send me a thank you note for telling you to do so.

Amazon shows this as being out of stock but don't despair. You can order the book straight from Chef John D. Folse. You can also preview a lot of recipes from the book using this site but get the book nonetheless - it worth every penny and then many more.

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I would like to add Eula Mae,s Cajun Kitchen,Cooking through the seasons on Avery Island.also with Marcelle Bienvenu.Mrs. Dore was the cook of the Commissary on Avery Island(of Tobasco fame) for many years and also did private parties for the McIlhenny,s.Its a great read as she takes you through the seasons of life on the island and demonstrates recipes with what was at hand at the time,also interspersed with personal anecdotes and stories.A very humble and gracious lady

"Food is our common ground,a universal experience"

James Beard

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As part of the discussion going on among the tourists over in this thread concerning Gumbo and the right way to make it, Kristin (a lovely and talented cook of many Cuisines who lives in Japan) announced that she has a ton of cookbooks and that NONE of them concern the subject of Louisiana Cuisine.

I am flattered... :biggrin:

That Encyclopedia book sounds incredible though I don't think it is obtainable from Japan, I chcked the site and it doesn't say anything about international shipping or what kind of credit cards it takes (I only have a JCB card :sad: ).

the Emeril book is available at Amazon.jp, I might try that one out, looking forward to more suggestions...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My first Cajun cookbook was Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, and though it's tattered and sprung, I still refer to it regularly.

Real and Rustic is a terrific book, and also one of my favorites. But in rare disagreement with Brooks, I think New New Orleans Cooking, while not authentic and down-home, is the book that made Emeril worth listening to, and still does. Cuisine needn't be bound by tradition. It must be informed by it, but it can also evolve. NNOC brings the world to Cajun and Creole. Louisiana -- and the world -- is better for it.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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My first Cajun cookbook was Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, and though it's tattered and sprung, I still refer to it regularly.

Real and Rustic is a terrific book, and also one of my favorites. But in rare disagreement with Brooks, I think New New Orleans Cooking, while not authentic and down-home, is the book that made Emeril worth listening to, and still does. Cuisine needn't be bound by tradition. It must be informed by it, but it can also evolve. NNOC brings the world to Cajun and Creole. Louisiana -- and the world -- is better for it.

Dave's right. I was wrong, although they are both good books. I looked at one on the shelf and typed the name of the other. So, once again, Dave and I are in complete agreement. In fact, both the Prudhomme book and New New Orleans cooking are a couple of the books that I could throw into some decent stock and end up with a pretty decent pot of soup, as they are covered with ingredients from meals past.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Patrick Mould's "From A Chef" is a pretty good one.

Tony Chachere's "Cajun Cookbook" covers a lot of ground, including how to make your own file'

And you really can't go wrong with Marcelle Bienvenue's books.

And as Brooks mentioned, any of the little old lady/Junior League/church group's books you run across will have good things in them. The recipes in those aren't so stringently tested, though. I've learned to always try them before you serve those recipes to guests.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Hi all, hope everyone's recovered from Mardi Gras. I have no disagreements with all the above listed titles. And I echo endorsement of anything authored or coauthored by Marcelle Bienvenu.

I've found Paul Prudhomme's Louisana Kitchen helpful in guiding me with my first seafood gumbo (my mom never made it -- just got it at Don's!), and for a novice to Louisiana cooking, it has a nice color picture guide for things like what your roux should look like at various stages.

Speaking of cookbooks, the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane has a collection of some 3000 cookbooks. I worked there as a student, and this single donation of several thousand cookbooks came in one day -- sort of a white elephant for a place that tried to widen the horizons for women beyond domestic duties. The books are not in circulation, but they are really cool to go through to pick up historical and anthropological tidbits. For example, I remember a Russian cookbook with a recipe for some cake that called for something like 100 egg yolks -- think of who could afford that many eggs, or who could afford the staff to separate them all! Very pre-Bolshevik.

I like to look at the Junior League and church cookbooks in the same way. For example, it's interesting to compare the types of dishes found in Talk About Good and Talk About Good II -- the later edition features (some) lighter fare, and seems a bit more cosmopolitan to me.

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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Now that you mention it, my mom had the first Talk About Good. That was her favorite.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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As part of the discussion going on among the tourists over in this thread concerning Gumbo and the right way to make it, Kristin (a lovely and talented cook of many Cuisines who lives in Japan) announced that she has a ton of cookbooks and that NONE of them concern the subject of Louisiana Cuisine.

I am flattered... :biggrin:

That Encyclopedia book sounds incredible though I don't think it is obtainable from Japan, I chcked the site and it doesn't say anything about international shipping or what kind of credit cards it takes (I only have a JCB card :sad: ).

the Emeril book is available at Amazon.jp, I might try that one out, looking forward to more suggestions...

Kris, just wanted to echo Brooks' rec. upthread for the Cotton Country Collection. I purchased it a number of months ago after he mentioned it on another thread (I believe it contains a couple of his mothers/grandmothers ?? recipes) and I absolutely LOVE the book. He's right there are a number of easy recipes that you might not make (think jellied salads) but there are some real gems, too. I also have the Emeril book and like it too, but the the Cotton Country Collection is definitely full of authentic flavour. One recipe is followed by the comment "Men love this!" :shock::laugh: Price-wise I don't think you could go wrong.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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My first cookbook was a wedding gift and it was Talk About Good, which is a Lafayette Junior League cookbook. I received River Roads Recipes (Baton Rouge Junior League) shortly thereafter, and these two were my most used books for years, as you would easily be able to tell by the condition they're in. I also like Talk About Good II.

New Iberia's Shadows On the Teche is good, and I agree with Brooks about Cotton Country. I don't currently own a copy because I gifted someone else with it, but I'll have to do something about that soon.

I absolutely adore reading Marcelle Bienvenu's food and cooking columns, but if you can believe it, I don't own a single one of her cookbooks. Damn, I need to remedy that, too.

Last night I ordered John Folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine and I can't wait to get it (although I should've, since Barnes & Noble said they'd have it next week and shipping was $15).

A treasured cookbook is one I found at a garage sale for fifty cents. It's a cookbook put out in 1955 by a museum association in the town I grew up in. I never knew of its existence while growing up, and it's fun to peruse, seeing familiar names I'd known all of my life. Here's what it looks like:

acadian_jennings.jpg

(Heh, seeing the original price, I realize I didn't get such a good bargain. :biggrin: )

Edited by patti (log)
"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)
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As part of the discussion going on among the tourists over in this thread concerning Gumbo and the right way to make it, Kristin (a lovely and talented cook of many Cuisines who lives in Japan) announced that she has a ton of cookbooks and that NONE of them concern the subject of Louisiana Cuisine.

I am flattered... :biggrin:

That Encyclopedia book sounds incredible though I don't think it is obtainable from Japan, I chcked the site and it doesn't say anything about international shipping or what kind of credit cards it takes (I only have a JCB card :sad: ).

the Emeril book is available at Amazon.jp, I might try that one out, looking forward to more suggestions...

Kris, just wanted to echo Brooks' rec. upthread for the Cotton Country Collection. I purchased it a number of months ago after he mentioned it on another thread (I believe it contains a couple of his mothers/grandmothers ?? recipes) and I absolutely LOVE the book. He's right there are a number of easy recipes that you might not make (think jellied salads) but there are some real gems, too. I also have the Emeril book and like it too, but the the Cotton Country Collection is definitely full of authentic flavour. One recipe is followed by the comment "Men love this!" :shock::laugh: Price-wise I don't think you could go wrong.

I just checked and this one is available at amazon.jp as well, I think I will get both! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Patti wrote "Last night I ordered John Folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine and I can't wait to get it (although I should've, since Barnes & Noble said they'd have it next week and shipping was $15)."

I just ordered 2 and paid 45 just for shipping! Where did you order from? I ordered from Folse's site.

edited because I'm an idiot.

Edited by highchef (log)
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The Folse Book weighs in at 10 lbs. So, when you think about it, this makes it cheaper by the pound that crawfish or crabmeat. And you can use it more than once. So it's a bargain!

I can justify almost anything if I put it into the price of crabmeat. :blink::laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I ordered from Folse's site, too. $49.95 for the book, $15 for shipping, $4.25 for sales tax (since it's in state) for a total of $69.20. Yikes, I don't like seeing that in print.

Are you sure you only ordered 2? The first go round it showed that I was ordering 2, when I was only ordering 1, so I had to empty the shopping cart and start over.

"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)
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Patti wrote "Last night I ordered John Folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine and I can't wait to get it (although I should've, since Barnes & Noble said they'd have it next week and shipping was $15)."

I just ordered 2 and paid 45 just for shipping! Where did you order from? I ordered from Folse's site.

edited because I'm an idiot.

You should have just driven to Donaldsonville and gotten them. You could have spent the difference on lunch at Prejean's, or bought sausage at Poche's or Champagne's. :wink:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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As part of the discussion going on among the tourists over in this thread concerning Gumbo and the right way to make it, Kristin (a lovely and talented cook of many Cuisines who lives in Japan) announced that she has a ton of cookbooks and that NONE of them concern the subject of Louisiana Cuisine.

I am flattered... :biggrin:

That Encyclopedia book sounds incredible though I don't think it is obtainable from Japan, I chcked the site and it doesn't say anything about international shipping or what kind of credit cards it takes (I only have a JCB card :sad: ).

the Emeril book is available at Amazon.jp, I might try that one out, looking forward to more suggestions...

Kris, just wanted to echo Brooks' rec. upthread for the Cotton Country Collection. I purchased it a number of months ago after he mentioned it on another thread (I believe it contains a couple of his mothers/grandmothers ?? recipes) and I absolutely LOVE the book. He's right there are a number of easy recipes that you might not make (think jellied salads) but there are some real gems, too. I also have the Emeril book and like it too, but the the Cotton Country Collection is definitely full of authentic flavour. One recipe is followed by the comment "Men love this!" :shock::laugh: Price-wise I don't think you could go wrong.

You got a problem with jellied salads? Huh?

ANd the men love this....let me guess......Sandie's Specials? Nat Troy?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Is shrimp mold one of the jellied salads? Shrimp mold is so delicious, but what a crappy name. I've been given strange looks by non-locals when they hear that I'm bringing shrimp mold to the potluck.

"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)
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Patti wrote "Last night I ordered John Folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine and I can't wait to get it (although I should've, since Barnes & Noble said they'd have it next week and shipping was $15)."

I just ordered 2 and paid 45 just for shipping! Where did you order from? I ordered from Folse's site.

edited because I'm an idiot.

You should have just driven to Donaldsonville and gotten them. You could have spent the difference on lunch at Prejean's, or bought sausage at Poche's or Champagne's. :wink:

I had 4 10yr olds here since Friday..kids are out of school for Mardi Gras, but most parents still have to work. If I'd driven across the state w/that crowd plus their brother and friends I'd need a bus and prozac. thanks for putting that in perspective for me. 45 bucks looks like a bargain now!

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One thing I have learned to appreciate in Paul Prudhomme's later cookbooks ("Louisiana Taste", "Kitchen Expedition") is that he goes through and explains in detail what the food should taste like at different times during the recipe. This also comes out of his ideas about seasoning things not all at once, but in stages.

I've also had great luck with recipes from "Austin Leslie's Creole-Soul: New Orleans' Cooking With a Soulful Twist".

-bj- Writing stories for computers and humans since 1979.

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Hearn was New Orleans first great food writer. He did much to document the early fine cuisine, primarily concerning native cooking in New Orleans, in the late 19th century. Much of the writing still holds up today. He also documented political and social life here, as well, often with a humorously jaded eye.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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There's a few well-chosen illustrations and snippets from Hearn's newspaper days in the Creole Cookbook, but I'd be interested to read more...much more!

The cookbook looks as if he knew more about eating than cooking, but the "verbatim from the cook's mouth" look makes them all the more interesting. I've made some of the recipes. Some of them are not Creole but generic 19th century, and I detect similarities with handwritten recipes from my grandmother's sisters, all born at the end of the 19th century, and recording recipes from their cook or their mother or aunts.

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