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May 11, 2002 08:04 PM

Local Cookbooks

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Can anybody recomend some local cookbooks that are REALLY REALLY GOOD !
Tell me if you have used them....or if someone you know has an opinion... and how you like them.a
I'd love to find a book or two to rely on for GREAT local recipies.(sp?)
PS.....sorry about my lousy spelling.

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    Hungry Celeste

    By local cookbooks, I'm assuming that you mean community cookbooks (the kind produced by junior leagues, service clubs, PTAs, etc.) I love community cookbooks and have a huge collection. Here's my short list...1)Pirate's Pantry (one of the best, in my opinion) of Lake Charles, freely available in bookstores 2)River Road Recipes of Baton Rouge (has various sequels, incl. a "light" version) 3)Down the Bayou, out of Larose, 'cause my daddy's gumbo is the first recipe in the book. Anyway, you might want to check out the following as well...."A Gracious Plenty", which contains recipes from community cookbooks around the south and commentary by southern authors (edited by John T. Edge), as well as the Tabasco website. Tabasco has a "community cookbook hall of fame" and gives annual awards. Their award recipients make up a nice reading list of local cookery books.


    8 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      Thanks HC.....I appreciate your you have a favorite ???
      I mean one that has the BEST overall recipies ???

      1. re: Evangeline
        Hungry Celeste

        I could never, never pick just one. I have a hundred or so from various sources. It depends on my mood, what's in the pantry, the season, what sort of people I'm cooking for, etc. And, I love old cookbooks, which are often completely useless when it comes to modern kitchens and techniques. One of my many favorite-favorites is Lafcadio Hearn's Creole Cook Book.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          Hearn's Creole Cookbook is an excellent suggestion that I missed mentioning---among others.

          Catherine's remark about spinach madeline is dead-on. I discovered that problem a year or so ago & find it rather rude of Kraft to have upset our cassserole world in such a manner. After all, what would we do if Campbell's decided to discontinue Cream of Mushroom soup?

          I believe the inventor (inventrix?) of Spinach Madeline is still with us, living in or around Baton Rouge.

          1. re: Hazelhurst
            Hungry Celeste

            Lord, I haven't eaten Spinach Madeline since my days as a student intern in the Capitol Annex building. It was a staple of the office potluck holiday dinners among state employees. In fact, I remember a small ruckus caused by one person who absconded with the leftover spinach madeline and was caught transferring it into a clean dish. She was taking it to an after-work party!

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              could one of you guys please share this "Spinach Madeleine" recipe with me?

              1. re: Marion
                Hungry Celeste

                2 packages frozen chopped spinach
                4 Tbsp. butter
                2 Tbsp. flour
                2 Tbsp. chopped onion
                1/2 cup evaporated milk
                1/2 cup vegetable liquor
                1/2 tsp. black pepper
                3/4 tsp. celery salt
                3/4 tsp. garlic salt (to taste)
                1 - 6 oz. roll jalapeno cheese (cut into small pieces)
                1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
                Red pepper (to taste)

                Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and reserve liquor. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat, and add flour, stirring until blended and smooth, but not brown.

                Add onion and cook until soft, but not brown. Add liquid slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until smooth and thick; continue stirring. Add seasonings and cheese. Stir until melted. Combine with cooked spinach.

                This may be served immediately or put in a casserole and topped with buttered bread crumbs. The flavor is improved if the casserole is kept in the refrigerator overnight. The dish may also be frozen. Serves 5 to 6.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Hungry Celeste, you forgot the clincher -- "SO different!"


              2. re: Hungry Celeste

                Now THAT is a funny story !
                I can't wait to try making the dish.

      2. I think every New Orleans (if not just plain old every) cook should have The Picayune Cookbook, even if it does assume some things in its directions. It is also an excellent culinary archaeology source.

        River Road is a classic--some convenient cheating (daube glace with packaged gelatin rather than boiling bones for a day)

        Plantation Cookbook (NOLA Jr League. Half of it is about Plantation homes but the second part is recipes. Classic shrimp creole and a very good grillades recipe.

        Recipes and Reminiscences of Old New Orleans (Ursuline Convent) is a nice compendium with good shrimp dips and such, Fairly straightforward.

        The old Commander's Cookbook has their turtle soup. The new one that Jamie did is OK but I have not cooked enough out of it to give a solid opinion.

        There' s another one from the 1960's but hell if I can remember the name. I have a copy somewhere but it is buried under the accumulated detritus of my life. IF and when it surfaces I will let you know--but, come to think of it, it would be easier to go to the library.

        I must have twenty more but these are good basics.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Hazelhurst

          Thanks Hazelhurst, are all these avilable in book stores like Borders and Barnes and B&N ??

          1. re: Evangeline

            All of the ones I mentioned--with the possible exception of the original Commander's Palace Cookbook--should be readily available. River Road Recipes can be bought directly from the Baton Rouge Junior League (they have a River Road II and also a "light" cookig book. I will not vouch for these last two except to say that these women knew what the hell they were doing and made some other organizations envious--not "green with envy" since the $$$ were going to the BR League.)

            The Plantation Cookbook should be easy to find in used bookstoers in NOLA. Also the Ursuline cookboo/. The PIcayune Cookbook has been re-issued but I wager you can find a battered copy somewhere in town. I think that you will find the Picayune Cookbook to be a guiding light: as I said earlier, it can be obtuse but, if you stay with it, you will see what the authors meant. And, having divined THAT, you will have a means of seeing into the mind of the 19th century cook. So armed, you cannot fail.

            1. re: Hazelhurst

              You can also find the Plantation and Jambalaya cookbooks through the Junior League New Orleans website

              I have a copy of the River Road III, the "light" cookbook. It has some good recipes in it as well, but not as many of the stand-by's of the first.

              Blue skies,

              1. re: Catherine

                This is good news...thanks alot

              2. re: Hazelhurst

                Yes.... I will make a point to try and dig up these gems.
                Thanks so much.

                1. re: Hazelhurst

                  Evangeline, the River Road cookbooks are also available online at JLBTR's website:

                  Hazelhurst, they have a change to the original Spinach Madeleine recipe on the website. I make this several times a year, and have been having a problem finding the jalapeno cheese roll -- turns out it's discontinued. I've usually substituted the garlic roll instead and kicked up the pepper, but the website gives an alternative to the original with Welweeta and diced jalapenos.

                  Blue skies.