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Favorite Louisiana cookbooks?

d
david in NOLa Mar 7, 2003 08:32 AM

I'm interested in upgrading my books on all varieties of Louisiana cookery. So far my collection is pretty pathetic. I have the first two volumes of River Road Recipes (the third, offering reduced fat recipes, doesn't interest me) and a book by Paul Prudhomme called Louisiana Tastes. The RR books seem OK to me, tho' they're very dated and too many recipes call for the use of processed foods (cream of mushroom soup, e.g.). And the Prudhomme book is full of what seem to me unnecessarily fussy recipes with a jillion ingredients, though I need to delve into it some more before passing final judgment. Emeril, of course, is banned for life from my bookshelf.

Books that do for Lousiana something like what D. Kennedy's has done for Mexico or M. Jaffrey for India would be ideal, though I won't be surprised if such a book does not exist.

But really, I'm interested in hearing about any books you like. Preferrably books in print, but even older ones are of interest. I can often track them down on ebay or elsewhere.

  1. h
    Hungry Celeste Mar 7, 2003 10:13 AM

    What follows are just a few of my favorites:
    --Leon Soniat's Creole Cookbook: old-fashioned, creole home cooking. Excellent recipe for redfish courtbouillion, as well as interesting vignettes on life in NO in the early 20th century.
    --Mary Land's Louisiana Cookery: indispensible for wild game, fish, turtle, etc. ML would cook almost anything!
    --Richard Collin's New Orleans Underground Gourmet
    --Times Picayune Creole Cookbook (any of the various editions)
    --The Dooky Chase Cookbook
    --Pirate's Pantry: good all-around, published by a service league in Lake Charles. Interesting because it includes diagrams and instructions for things like cleaning softshelled crabs, peeling shrimp, etc.

    Personally, I like community cookbooks (like RR Recipes & Pirate's Pantry). While they often do have some junky fad recipes that rely on shortcuts, you can often find jewels buried in with the hot cheese dips and marshmallow fudge recipes. The Tabasco company sponsors a community cookbook hall of fame (visit www.tabasco.com), with new cookbooks included each year.

    In addition, the Newcomb Center for Women at Tulane University has a large collection of cookery books. See the link to their NO Cookbook bibliography...

    Link: http://www.tulane.edu/~wclib/nochc.ht...

    10 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste
      h
      Hazelhurst Mar 7, 2003 11:37 AM

      My cookbook collection is, if I do say so, pretty enormous and a huge chunck is LA stuff. I second the rec of the "Picayune" cookbook which is as important to N.O cooking as escoffier's original conpendium was top France. "Recipes & reminisncences of Old New Orleans" from the Ursuline mob is right fine--has a few canned soup ingredients but what's cooking without cheating occasionally? NO Junior League's "Plantation cookbooks" has some great stuff but 1/2 og it is devoted to the Big Houses hooey.m(I think they became insecure about River Road's success and wanted to Do Something. Then there is Lafacdio Hearn's "Creole Cookbook"

      There are two Leon Soniat books---I and II

      The "Shadows on the Teche" Cookbook has many NO recipes due to the trade connections between the two towns. The great Hallman Woods Jr (world's best soup maker) has some good ones in there.

      I am not a beleiver in the Collins' stuff but admit that I have held his "outing" of many favored places against him for more than twenty years. Someone in his horde invented a then-new standard for judging Red Beans and Rice...."bean definition" was the term. I thought--and think---that to be ridiculous.

      There was abook of restaurant recipes (well, there are several) some years ago that had Anna Maye Maylie's eggs remoulade (a tear stands in the eye as we recollect Maylie's) and if you can find that one it is worth having. My copy was accidentally given away by a family member years ago & I'm damned if I forgive her

      1. re: Hazelhurst
        h
        Hungry Celeste Mar 7, 2003 01:15 PM

        Hearn's cookbook is very interesting reading, but can you really cook from it?

        1. re: Hungry Celeste
          h
          Hazelhurst Mar 7, 2003 08:18 PM

          Good point...you CAn cook from it but you need to "divine" some things. You know the old gag about old cookbooks: "troute a la Something-or-Other" recipe reads: take a nice piece of fresh fish, season as usual and cook. Serve at once.

        2. re: Hazelhurst
          v
          vbohanz Apr 15, 2007 09:38 AM

          Thanks Hazelhurst. Am sure enjoying the posts in this thread. I was trying to decide whether to get "Shadows on the Teche" but didn't know much about it. Your comments decided me :-) Could you possibly recall more about the cookbook, or title of the cookbook, with Maylie's eggs remoulade in it?

          1. re: vbohanz
            h
            Hungry Celeste Apr 18, 2007 02:44 PM

            Hazelhurst is gone with the wind...haven't seen him/her post since just after the big K.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste
              v
              vbohanz Apr 18, 2007 03:17 PM

              Thanks for letting me know. Hope all is okay with Hazelhurst. Will see what I can scout out on the web about Maylie's.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste
                Joe H Dec 23, 2007 07:52 PM

                Hungry Celeste, I miss both you and Hazelhurst. A number of years ago he and I traded some wonderful posts that I have never forgotten. I type this a number of months after your post but I still have fond memories of trading posts with both of you from years ago.

                On topic, I have about 30 or more Louisiana cookbooks. The three that I value the most are Emeril's first book, New New Orleans Cooking which I believe has more recipes that I have used from him than any other. It also dates to '93 when the Tchoupoulitas restaurant was still on top, before the Food Network. His second book, Real and Rustic, is very good also but for me, New New Orleans Cooking has at least a dozen or more recipes that I have made over and over. Frankly, none of the cookbooks that he has done since then, for me, have lived up to the first two.

                The second is Prudhomme's first also, "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen." An extraordinary book that was released in '84 five years after K-Paul's first opened. I believe that what is important about this is that at that time his wife was still alive and K-Paul's was (as Emeril in the early and mid '90's) on top. I had a close friend whose roomate was a waitress at K-Paul's and through her met him (later his pastry chef, Marty, who actually created his fresh coconut cake which, to this day, is the best cake I have ever had. The Prudhomme Family Cookbook has the recipe for Marty's coconut cake along with several other incredible cakes including a fantastic spice cake. For years both of these were available only on request from K-Paul's). Chef Paul was trying to lose weight and I had just lost over 140 pounds on a diet and was doing everything in my power to gain it all back in one meal! A good friend and I were literally eating our way around the country and met him-through her-just after spending several days in Houston. At the time he was fascinated with Tex Mex cooking and had recently spent several days at Ninfa's on Navigation Blvd. in Houston. We'd had dinner there three nights in a row. Between Ninfa's and my weight loss and the roommate/waitress Chef Paul and I hit it off. To this day one of the best experiences I have ever had was a tour of his kitchen, with him, and a spoon tasting most of his dishes.

                Twenty five years later I have not forgotten this. I also understand that now he has finally lost much of the weight that he so long wanted to lose. For myself, I've kept it off for all this time despite my life long obsession with food.

                The third cookbook is from the Junior League of New Orleans, Jambalaya. The spiral bound volume that I have dates to 1980 and is falling apart, page by page. But there is passion in it along with a number of excellent recipes.

                Fond memories of my first visit to NOLA and meeting Chef Paul which was an opportunity to buy Jambalaya and, on later visits to buy his first cookbook along with Emeril's first cookbook.

                I love your hometown.

          2. re: Hungry Celeste
            h
            Hungry Celeste Mar 7, 2003 01:14 PM

            I meant Richard Collin's New Orleans Cookbook, not Underground Gourmet (which is reviews). Interesting in itself, but not what you requested!

            1. re: Hungry Celeste
              MsMaryMc Mar 29, 2007 04:13 PM

              I'll second Rima & Richard Collin's New Orleans Cookbook. One of their jambalaya recipes (I think they call it chicken but it also contains pork, Tasso and andouille) is my standard.

            2. re: Hungry Celeste
              l
              LH807 Mar 25, 2007 11:14 PM

              Pirate's Pantry is the best, in my opinion! Also, good specialty book is the Junior League of Baton Rouge: Stop and Smell the Rosemary Cookbook. The Southern Living Annual Recipes is always full of awesome dishes too!

            3. s
              Seattle Rose Mar 7, 2003 11:07 AM

              Hi David and everyone,

              I have: Arnaud's Creole Cookbook by John Demers; Creole Gumbo & All That Jazz by Howard Mitcham; Antoine's Restaurant Cookbook by Roy F. Guste; Commander's Kitchen by Ti Adelaide Martin and Jamie Shannon; The Prudhomme Family Cookbook, among others.

              Most of these have to do with New Orleans cuisine rather than Louisiana cuisine. I guess the Prudhomme Family Cookbook is not strictly NO. I have especially enjoyed Creole Gumbo & All That Jazz because it tells some history of NO and because I am also a jazz fan. I must say that I don't always cook from my cookbooks. I am interested in food and history every bit as much as I am in cooking.

              I too, would enjoy a definitive book on the cuisine and culture of Louisiana, al la Diana Kennedy. Let us know if you run across one. Or maybe this will be an inspiration for a writer-cook to pick up on. This is a project I would love to be involved in -- eating AND history/culture. Heaven.

              R

              1. z
                Zorra Mar 7, 2003 03:27 PM

                I was fortunate to inherit a number of cookbooks from an aunt,who apparently bought a new one every time she and my uncle (LSU alum) went to Baton Rouge for a ball game. My favorites are Pirate's Pantry, already mentioned, and Talk About Good!, from a service league in Lafayette. I have vols. 1 and 2 of River Road Recipes too, of course,as well as some more obscure ones including one called Tiger Bait. I'm not at home now and can't remember the others...but the first two I mentioned are the ones I use most often. For a rather bizarre glimpse into a pre-cholesterol-conscious time, check out the recipe for something called Fleetza Cleetza in Talk About Good!

                1. c
                  Chimayo Joe Mar 7, 2003 06:52 PM

                  "Cajun-Creole Cooking" by Terry Thompson is good. Unfortunately, out of print.

                  You might want to swap "Louisiana Tastes" for "Louisiana Kitchen" if you're wanting a Paul Prudhomme book on your shelf.

                  My Louisiana cookbook is as small as yours, just "Cajun-Creole Cooking", "Louisiana Kitchen", and "Enola Prudhomme's Low Calorie Cajun Cooking"(I haven't used Enola's book much, but haven't had it long.)

                  Thompson's book would be the one I'd keep if I had to get rid of two of mine.

                  Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0345342607/ref=pd_sim_books_1/104-3515760-7967953?v=glance&s=books

                  Image: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/034...

                  1. w
                    wrayb Mar 7, 2003 07:57 PM

                    I took a look at my shelf and was surprised to see I have none of the standard tomes on New Orleans cooking. I guess while I was living there I was learning and eating from the kitchens and spent the money on beer and not the books.

                    One book I have enjoyed, which I bought as I was leaving Louisisana, is Marcelle Bienvenu's "Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?" which was published by Times of Acadiana Press in 1991.

                    Since Lent has begun, I look to that section of her book and note that she includes 2 gumbo z'herbes recipes as well as for shrimp creole, baked macaroni and fried catfish.

                    The theme of the book is snapshots and recipes through the seasons while growing up in St. Martinville but she does fill in some things she learned when she went off to the big city, New Orleans.

                    cheers.

                    wray

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: wrayb
                      d
                      Donna - MI Mar 7, 2003 08:29 PM

                      I have recommended Marcelle Bienvenu's cookbooks before. They are not only good recipes but her family stories are priceless. Glad to see someone agrees with me. She does have a sequel to "Who's your Mama, etc." I have reread these books several times. D.

                      1. re: wrayb
                        d
                        Donna - MI Mar 7, 2003 08:29 PM

                        I have recommended Marcelle Bienvenu's cookbooks before. They are not only good recipes but her family stories are priceless. Glad to see someone agrees with me. She does have a sequel to "Who's your Mama, etc." I have reread these books several times. D.

                        1. re: Donna - MI
                          s
                          shallots Mar 29, 2007 11:35 AM

                          Thanks for the heads up on the sequel. I miss her from when we got delivery of the T-P.
                          From the same time period, I've used Frank Davis' cook book for game recipes.
                          And my falling apart "the Plantation Cookbook" by the Junior League.

                      2. d
                        david in NOLa Mar 8, 2003 08:20 AM

                        thanks for such great replies everyone; i've compiled a nice shopping list.

                        in rereading my original post, i notice that i under-appreciated the RR books. they're a lot more than OK, and there are definitely many treasures in those books. and i've found it interesting to read recipes for 50 or even 100 people.

                        1. c
                          Cheftiger Mar 8, 2003 11:35 AM

                          I like Commanders Palace cookbook (Jamie Shannon,chef) Decent NO recipes, but not all classic NO.
                          Also, try this website, I don't have anything to do with this site, not spamming.

                          http://www.gumbopages.com/recipe-page.html

                          this guy is not bad and lots of info.

                          Link: http://www.gumbopages.com/recipe-page...

                          1. c
                            Chris Mar 8, 2003 04:32 PM

                            My most often used cookbook is "Frank Davis cooks Cajun, Creole and Crescent City" published by Pelican. The recipes are pretty straight forward---but remind me most of the way my grandmother and mom cooked.

                            1. s
                              Sheila Mar 9, 2003 07:52 AM

                              What a great list! I feel my suggestions may be a little paltry but I collect cookbooks, and where ever I have traveled I try and pick one up. Often I don't even use them to cook the recipes, just to read. (I can taste the result in my mind)

                              I recently picked up; Jambalaya, 15th Anniversary Edition of the N.O. Jr. League and with it, The Plantation Cookbook. The second one is a history book as well as a cookbook and a real joy!

                              I now have a long list from the suggestion listed here for the next book sale I go to. Thanks!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sheila
                                c
                                Catherine Mar 10, 2003 09:13 AM

                                The Plantation cookbook is wonderful, as is Jambalaya. I also use River Road I (and sometimes III) and Talk About Good. On the recommendation of Tom Fitzmorris, I picked up an old copy of the Entergy cookbook, which is quite good, but as another poster found with another cookbook, you have to wade through a few marshmallow surprises to get to the culinary gems.

                                Blue skies,
                                Catherine

                              2. t
                                Tom Mar 10, 2003 03:44 PM

                                Many of the classics have been mentioned, except for Louisiana Legacy, which I believe is out of Breaux Bridge. Last I heard, it was back in print as of a few years ago. And it too has a few recipes calling for ingredients that, to some on this board, are low brow. Having grown up in Acadiana Parish, though, I saw plenty of true Cajun cooks using those same ingredients with excellent results.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Tom
                                  m
                                  mr geography Mar 10, 2003 04:46 PM

                                  don't you mean ACADIA parish? or did you leave out the "an"? my map of Louisiana certainly doesn't have an ACADIANA parish, although it does have a block of parishes collectively known as Acadiana (as well another block known as the Florida parishes, too...). tongue-in-cheek...

                                  1. re: Tom
                                    h
                                    Hazelhurst Mar 11, 2003 06:24 AM

                                    That's a fine cookbook despite sneers of some whom you've suggested would hold it in contempt. The can of Mushroom Soup shows up from time to time but there are "camp cooks" who swear by that ingredient and down around Delcambre there is a tribe that cannot make etouffee without it. (I have found the geographic line demarcing the "can of soup versus NO can of soup" territory.)

                                    A classic example of packaged ingredients--heresy amongst todays parvenue TV cooks--is River Roads' "Spinach Madeline" which has wowed many a "expert.' Calls for Kraft Jalepeno Cheese which, if I understand right, has been discontinued but the Baton rouge Junior League (publisher) has provided a "fix". Using "quality" cheese just does not work for this classic.

                                    Speaking of "trick" ingredients, try using frozen pearl onions in your next bourguignon--the hell with peeling 100 of those little hard-to-come-by bastards. Fernard Point would have used them if he'd had access to them.

                                    1. re: Hazelhurst
                                      c
                                      Cheftiger Mar 16, 2003 11:28 AM

                                      I agree 100% about the pearl onions. My only caveat, though is just don't put them in too early in the cooking process.

                                      1. re: Hazelhurst
                                        s
                                        sudiepav Mar 16, 2004 11:16 AM

                                        I hope that the Velveeta mexican hasn't been discontinued. My daughter-in-law, a NO native, fixed Spinach Madeline for T'giving dinner, and it was just marvelous. When I asked for the recipe, I was chagrined that Velveeta was one of the ingredients. I went to a party over New Year's, was asked to bring a vege, and fixed the spinach. I quadrupled the recipe, and people were close to licking the pan. It really is good! I'm checking today for Velveeta Mexican...if I find it, I may stock up...it keeps forever!

                                    2. d
                                      Danno Sep 28, 2005 02:39 PM

                                      A few of my favorites are:

                                      Creole Feast by Nathaniel Burton & Rudy Lombard (1978)

                                      Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz by Howard Mitcham (1978) Probably my favorite of all. Tons of info on Louisiana Seafood Cookery.

                                      The Picayune's Creole Cookbook, reprint of the 1901 version, with notes by Marcelle Bienvenu.

                                      Cajun-Creole by Terry Thompson Anderson great recipes, with some hard to find ones, like some of the New Orleans Bread that are so hard to find outside of NOLA.

                                      I'm actually creating a bibliography of NOLA cookbooks at my site http://www.nolacuisine.com/bibliography-of-creole-cajun-cookbooks/

                                      Still building it up though.

                                      Link: http://www.nolacuisine.com

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Danno
                                        c
                                        chocolatetartguy Jun 5, 2013 07:01 PM

                                        I am so jazzed that I found a copy of Creole Feast Fifteen Master Chefs of New Orleans at the flea market for 5 bucks. It has short interviews with @ master chef and tons of recipes including the same dish from different chefs. Included from 3 of my favorite NO restaurants: Austin Leslie of Chez Helene, Lydia Chase of Dooky Chase and two female cooks from Bon Ton Cafe.

                                        The recipes seem very simple. If anything they are too simple, maybe lacking inenough detail for the inexperienced NO cook. But you can't beat lagniappe like Leslie telling how to tell fried chicken is done by the sound of the cooking oil and how his mama taught him to get 13 pieces of fried chicken from one bird (break the back in half!)

                                      2. g
                                        GVDub Mar 25, 2007 11:31 PM

                                        River Road is good. I'm also fond of the Lafayette Junior League book "Talk About Good" and "Louisiana Lagniappe" by Mercedes Vidrine.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: GVDub
                                          j
                                          joez Mar 26, 2007 12:12 PM

                                          I have found "New Orleans Food" by Tom Fitzmorris to contain some real jewels. Over 200 recipes like Oysters Bienville, Oyster and Artichoke Soup, Trout Marigny, Salmon Florentine, and on and on. You might want to take a look at it. Warning: It has a foreword written by Emeril but that certainly doesn't detract from the quality of the recipes.

                                        2. c
                                          cajungirl Mar 27, 2007 07:14 AM

                                          The Lafayette Junior League cookbook, Talk about Good!, is my all-time favorite. Be sure to try the Eggplant Dressing. The Shadows-on-the-Teche Cookbook is quite good. Both are legitimately Cajun country products. One little known book from the Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce is Where the Bayou Runs Straight, a terrific buy and is still available. It has lots of authentic recipes, like blackberry pie with sweet dough and bread pudding with CREAM sauce (no liquor is needed!)
                                          I agree with previous posters about Marcelle Bienvenue's Who's Your Mama? It is a lovely narrative by a serious foodie and has great recipes.
                                          For those wanting upscale, try the Palace Cafe cookbook. The wonderful crabmeat cheesecake is in it, along with other delicacies.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: cajungirl
                                            c
                                            cajungirl Mar 29, 2007 06:15 AM

                                            Oops! The Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce cookbook is From the Heart of the Teche. The other title is local history, not a cookbook, and is o.p. Sorry!

                                            1. re: cajungirl
                                              v
                                              vbohanz Apr 15, 2007 01:09 PM

                                              cajungirl, you've captured my interest. I had no success in running down a used copy of From the Heart of the Teche on internet. The good news is I ran across a current (this month) newsletter by Jeanerette CC and -- by happy serendipity -- learned they intend to reprint it! Here's the link to the PDF newsletter: http://www.iberianet.com/pdf/jeaneret...

                                              1. re: vbohanz
                                                c
                                                cajungirl Mar 4, 2010 12:58 PM

                                                I bought several of the recent printing of From the Heart of the Teche from the Jeanerette Museum at Christmas time. I don't think the website is active, but the phone there is 337 276-4408. The books were $12.

                                          2. r
                                            rollledspleen Mar 29, 2007 06:52 AM

                                            I have several church and junior league cookbooks that have interesting recipes because they are often a families twist on a standard recipe. Talk About Good is a good example. But, you are right a lot of the recipes (home recipes) will call for processed food. It may also be a factor of the times a lot of these books were published, when concerns with processed foods wasn't as great.

                                            But, despite all those ring binder type books, the La. cookbook I still use regularly and with good results is Justin Wilson's Homegrown La. Cookin'. It gets my vote for the best.

                                            1. e
                                              eimac Mar 29, 2007 09:32 AM

                                              If you can find it, look at the New Orleans volume of the old Time-Life Cookbooks of the World. It has some wonderful recipes and is good reading too.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: eimac
                                                v
                                                vbohanz Apr 15, 2007 09:33 AM

                                                This was part of the "Foods of the World" series, published in 2-volumes for each cuisine: a large hardcover with color photos and info and some recipes and a companion wire-spiral bound board cover booklet of recipes only. The recipe booklets are mostly text with an occasional B&W diagram or photo. It is my understanding each cuisine has contributions from people truly knowledgeable about that cuisine. I don't have the large hardcover volumes, but I wanted the accompanying 6x9 recipe booklets enough to round up used copies of entire series. Keepers, IMO. The NO volume recipe booklet is titled, "Recipes: American Cooking: Creole and Acadian" Used copies available many places on internet; pays to do comparison shopping to get best price.

                                              2. m
                                                MakingSense Mar 29, 2007 02:57 PM

                                                There were recipes available for decades for free from the elecric company, New Orleans Public Service, now Entergy, which were finally available in a spiral-bound book. New Orleans cooks contributed recipes and when they needed one they called the company and were mailed that one on the sheet with a group of related recipes. My mother had well-used stacks of these which I got when she died. She loved them.
                                                The recipes were the good, the bad and the truly awful. Some were the "open five cans of this or that" variety but many were the old classic New Orleans and Cajun dishes.
                                                Someone told me that after Katrina, when so many people lost their copies of these old recipes, the computer files for the book were retrieved from Entergy's offices in New Orleans and the book is available again but I don't know anything more.
                                                I have one of the last published versions of it and it's a great resource.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: MakingSense
                                                  v
                                                  vbohanz Apr 15, 2007 08:59 AM

                                                  Thank you for this info and for your candid opinion (I am forewarned). I went in search of a used copy (always trying to save a little money to spend on other cookbooks), and was very pleased to find a PDF copy available online. If anyone else is interested, here is the download link for "From Woodstoves to Microwaves - Cooking with Entergy"
                                                  http://food.yatpundit.com/entergycook...

                                                  1. re: vbohanz
                                                    m
                                                    MakingSense Apr 15, 2007 10:51 AM

                                                    You are my absolute HERO!!!!! That book has so many wonderful recipes sprinkled among some real clunkers. I'm thrilled to have that pdf version.
                                                    It's especially valuable that many of the recipes date back more than 50 years so it is interesting to see how New Orleans cooking has changed since the advent of processed foods.
                                                    My parents constantly railed against restaurant cooking in the city in the latter part of the 20th century because they thought the food had lost its way and become much different from what they had known in their younger days both in New Orleans and in the bayou country.

                                                    1. re: vbohanz
                                                      wekick Mar 24, 2013 12:09 PM

                                                      Link is gone but here is another
                                                      http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.a...

                                                  2. honkman Mar 29, 2007 03:34 PM

                                                    I just got it recently and haven't cooked anything from it but it looks like a great and comprehensive book - John Folse - Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cooking

                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Ca...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: honkman
                                                      frankiii Apr 15, 2007 09:35 AM

                                                      The Encyclopdedia of Cajun and Creole Cooking is indeed an impressive book. I recently got it as a premium during our local NPR pledge drive where Folse has a show. The book is pretty amazing; it is a pleasure to read and comprehensive.

                                                    2. v
                                                      vbohanz Apr 15, 2007 01:22 PM

                                                      It's always especially helpful to get a variety of personal opinions on cookbooks before buying, especially if buying sight unseen from internet. Aside from quality/opinion of the recipes, others may tell us about things we have no way knowing, such as the infamous screwup on well-known cookbook with faint yellow text, unreadable to many.

                                                      Another source of info is Tulane's wonderful reference page online, called Bibilography of New Orleans Cookbooks. Interesting reading. http://www.tulane.edu/~wclib/nochc.html

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: vbohanz
                                                        c
                                                        cajungirl Apr 15, 2007 05:26 PM

                                                        As I was browsing this very comprehensive list, I thought I would mention Tout de Suite a la Microwave. I know it's heresy, but sometimes I have to make roux in a microwave. And no one has ever been able to tell the difference!

                                                        1. re: cajungirl
                                                          v
                                                          vbohanz Apr 18, 2007 02:28 PM

                                                          Cajungirl, I ran across that one a while back and deliberated whether to buy it. Want to use microwave more (and more intelligently). Instead, bought same author's Tout de Suite a la Microwave II: Mexican, Italian, and French Recipes, but haven't yet cooked anything from it. I can't imagine making roux in a microwave. I was making a quick gravy roux last night and it got ugly on me fast! Got it off the heat just in time. <grin>

                                                          1. re: vbohanz
                                                            h
                                                            Hungry Celeste Apr 18, 2007 02:48 PM

                                                            Microwave roux is super-easy. Not nearly as fun as standing over the skillet, spatula in hand, communing with the great mother roux, but it's faster & easier. Mix oil & flour in a multi-cup pyrex measure; whisk until well combined. Microwave in 3-5 minute increments until it reaches your desired state of brown-ness. Or go all hardcore healthy and brown plain flour in a slow oven without any oil at all. A jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet works well; stir frequently for even browning.

                                                            1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                              m
                                                              MakingSense Apr 18, 2007 03:23 PM

                                                              Celeste, I started making Magic Roux Powder for Mama when she started getting a bit ditsy in her 80's. She'd wander off in the middle of her roux. With the Magic Powder, she used the same amount of oil but it took much less time so she could get it done before she had to go find a few missing marbles or something.
                                                              I love the stuff when I'm in a hurry. Gotta admit it's a great way to cut some calories.

                                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                                v
                                                                vbohanz Apr 18, 2007 03:27 PM

                                                                Okay, what be Magic Roux Powder? Inquiring minds want to know.

                                                                1. re: vbohanz
                                                                  m
                                                                  MakingSense Apr 18, 2007 05:35 PM

                                                                  Magic Roux Powder is oven-browned flour. Spread flour in a baking sheet with a raised lip. Bake in a moderate oven, periodically stirring with a spatula until it turns a golden brown. To test if it's the color I want, I remove a bit and mix it with a little vegetable oil. It darkens as soon as it mixes with the oil. Baking it removes the raw taste of the flour just as cooking it in the oil does. This works best for a medium roux. When I want a darker roux, I can cook it longer once I put it into the oil. Just saves time.
                                                                  Louisiana Chef John Folse often uses a dry roux like this to thicken soups. He suggests making it in a dry cast iron skillet, stirring constantly. There's no raw flour taste as in a flour and water slurry.
                                                                  I'll make about 5 pounds at a time because it keeps forever.

                                                              2. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                v
                                                                vbohanz Apr 18, 2007 03:25 PM

                                                                Super-easy, huh? :-) I will have to try that, thanks. I did once manage to scramble eggs in MW without totally killing them, but still went a little too far for best taste. I like the sound of that oven-browned flour a lot.

                                                        2. l
                                                          LabRat Apr 18, 2007 03:42 PM

                                                          I picked up "The Heaven On Seven Cookbook" last Sunday at Costco. Love the restaurant, so I have high hopes for the book. Most of the recipes I want to try first are a little too involved for after work, but I plan on trying some this weekend!

                                                          I know you weren't looking for internet resources, but the Culinary Institute of New Orleans has a cooking show and they put the recipes on their website. www.ci-no.com is their address, What I have tried so far has worked out great!

                                                          1. b
                                                            BruinEric Apr 19, 2007 07:55 AM

                                                            Just to be the contrarian, I actually think Emeril's "Louisiana, Real & Rustic" cookbook is worth a look. At least check it out the next time you're in a bookstore -- and that's one advantage of this one is that most on this thread can preview it in a brick & mortar rather than order it sight unseen.

                                                            In general, this isn't a book aimed at duplicating restaurant recipes. And in contrast to your Prudhomme book, it is a collection of more basic recipes. We've made several recipes out of it and enjoyed. The turkey gumbo recipe is basic and good. We make a smothered chicken recipe several times a year, and there are some bread recipes I'll turn to as well. I used the un-formed brioche recipe in here for a loaf at Easter with good results also.

                                                            Good luck.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: BruinEric
                                                              h
                                                              Hungry Celeste Apr 19, 2007 08:08 AM

                                                              Not a contrarian attitude at all. Real & Rustic was written in conjuction with Marcelle Bienvenue, a wonderful LA food writer whose other books are cited above. Marcelle co-wrote several of E's cookbooks (can't remember which ones, but she's credited on them).

                                                              1. re: BruinEric
                                                                redgypsy Apr 19, 2007 06:01 PM

                                                                Just wanted to concur, the only two LA/NOLA cookbooks I have a need for are Emeril's Real and Rustic and Marcelle Bienvenue's Who's Your Mama. Between the two of them I've come up with a way to make most everything I need to replicate for my LaPlace, LA born and bred other half. We have RR vol. III which I bought in law school and I rarely look at it but aforementioned other half made the shrimp creole for our anniversary this year and it was phenomenal and "easy" according to him.

                                                              2. l
                                                                lgmasson Dec 23, 2007 06:51 PM

                                                                I an trying to track down a copy of the Entergy Louisiana cookbook. I absolutely loved mine and used it frequently. The recipes were simple and tasty. I lost it to Hurrincane Katrina and would love to have another copy. Can you help me???
                                                                lgmasson@bellsouth.net

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: lgmasson
                                                                  l
                                                                  Leepa Feb 27, 2010 04:33 AM

                                                                  Entergy reissued the cookbook after Katrina because so many people lost theirs to the hurricane. The proceeds from sales went to the United Way. Via a google search, I found lots of links that pointed to a free download, but can't find any now that are active. A search of Entergy's site doesn't find it either. Giving them a call to see if it's still available might be a good idea. I also saw where there were a couple of used copies available from Amazon sellers, but they were pretty pricey. Might be worth it though.

                                                                  It's a wonderful book. For those who are not familiar, it's a compilation of 50 years worth of recipes that appeared in NOPSI (and later Entergy) books, bill stuffers, and other materials. While not strictly Cajun or Creole, it has many many tried and true recipes of the region.

                                                                2. speyerer Dec 23, 2007 07:41 PM

                                                                  I am also an LSU alum (LSU Medical Center "75) and the cookbook i recommend is Rima & Richard Collin's New Orleans Cookbook, but cut or omit the salt. It's not only good for you but the food tastes better.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: speyerer
                                                                    m
                                                                    MakingSense Dec 23, 2007 09:48 PM

                                                                    My copy of that book is downright filthy from use. Do you remember Richard Collins' columns as the food critic for the New Orleans States-Item newspaper in the 60s and 70s when he wrote as the Underground Gourmet? Neither Richard nor Rima Collins was from NOLA, both were professors at UNO but they really knew the local food. That's one of the best cookbooks for the real thing before the local cuisine started changing. A lot of recipes that you never see on menus any longer. That food just tastes like home to me.

                                                                    Two other great cookbooks from about that same time are the Junior League of New Orleans Plantation Cookbook, which has many old Creole specialties, and Roy Guste, Jr.'s The 100 Greatest Dishes of Louisiana Cookery.
                                                                    Guste's family has owned Antoine's for almost 170 years and he was classically trained in France, but he has simplified some of the most complex Creole recipes, testing them with only four saucepans and a skillet, and for utensils, a kitchen fork, wooden spoon, spatula, small whisk, two knives and a chopping board.

                                                                    1. re: MakingSense
                                                                      speyerer Dec 23, 2007 11:01 PM

                                                                      I do remember Richard and Rima, a true love story.
                                                                      Roy Guste, Jr. is a New Orleans personality, I was going to say "character" but I didn't know how people would take it, and a wonderful teacher and cook. I have thoroughly enjoyed his books.

                                                                  2. n
                                                                    Nata Tariko Mar 10, 2010 10:32 PM

                                                                    Anyone have opinions on a New Orleans cookbook called Recipes From Miss Louise by Elaine Jones from 1978. I saw a used one for sale and it was a bit pricey - is it worth the money? It wanted mentioned as a New Orleans favorite, would this be a good investment.

                                                                    1. j
                                                                      John Francis Apr 18, 2013 11:16 AM

                                                                      Rima & Richard Collin's New Orleans Cookbook is my #1, and Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen is #2. Haven't yet felt the need for a #3, but I'm reading this thread with interest.

                                                                      1. r
                                                                        rasputina Jun 5, 2013 07:44 PM

                                                                        My favorites

                                                                        Pirates Pantry Junior League of Lake Charles
                                                                        River Roads Junior League of Baton Rouge
                                                                        Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine John Folse
                                                                        After the Hunt John Folse
                                                                        Hooks, Lies and Alibis John Folse
                                                                        Who's Your Mama, Are you Catholic and Can you make roux books 1&2 Marcelle Bienvenue
                                                                        The New Orleans Cookbook Richard Collin
                                                                        Louisiana Real and Rustic by Emeril Lagasse
                                                                        Real Cajun by Donald Link

                                                                        1. skamama Jul 8, 2013 05:00 PM

                                                                          I agree with the recommendation for "Talk About Good," regularly referred to by my two sisters-in-law who are Louisiana born and bred. (One 'converted' my brother; he's been living there nearly 35 years.) "Creole Feast: 15 Master Chefs of New Orleans Reveal Their Secrets" is a classic, published in 1978 by Random House and written by Nathaniel Burton and Rudy Lombard. The chef interviews alone are worth chasing this book down. It has several versions of many recipes and includes the basics, like the sauces. Another one that I love to get lost in is "American Cooking: Creole and Acadian," which was published in 1971 as part of Time Life's Foods of the World series. It's full of amazing photographs, such as a two-page spread on Chez Helene, with Helen DeJean Pollock and family with the kitchen's largesse spread before them. The recipes are enough to leave saliva dribbles on the page, such as Crawfish Balls, Shrimp-stuffed Merliton and that bread pudding with whiskey sauce that I first encountered at a (can't remember the name) Creole restaurant in the French Quarter. This book was mentioned in Saveur's April 2012 New Orleans issue. Both books might be found online.

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