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Mar 28, 2005 06:30 AM

Creole/Cajun/Southern cookbooks rec

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Hi! I am planning to get some creole, cajun and southern cookbooks, and will like some recommendations on this. I have been to bookshops and was astounded by the choice. Generally, I prefer cookbooks that are made more for the homecooks, and therefore can be replicated easily at home, gives a good introduction on what is required for the particular cuisine, as well as some history and culture behind the cuisine. I have seen Emeril's and Paul Prudhomme's cookbooks, but is a bit hesitant about them, as I'm not sure how practical they are for the homecook. I have also seen James Villas' book on his mother's southern recipes as well as Edna Lewis's book. Can anyone also comment on these two?

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  1. Emeril's "Real and Rustic" is a good book for home cooks.


    1. I like Bill Neal's Southern Cooking.

      1. I think I have all of James Villas's "My Mother's ..." books. "... Southern Kitchen" I've had the longest and used the most. It's a good book but not one of my favorites. I've had Edna Lewis's new book only a short time but have had her two earlier books for years, and I think extremely highly of them. "Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen," his first book, is excellent. I've had it since it first came out and have cooked from it many times. Another Louisiana cookbook I use often is Roy Guste's "The 100 Greatest Dishes of Louisiana Cookery." Back to southern, I think Camille Glenn's "The Heritage of Southern Cooking" is a fine book, and I often refer to John Egerton's "Southern Food," which is not a cookbook but has recipes. John Martin Taylor's first book, the one on South Carolina lowcountry cooking is a favorite, but I must disclose that I grew up there. For the same reason I'm fond of "Charleston Receipts." These are my personal favorites. I can name more titles that I think are worth having if you want.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Jim Washburn

          I endorse the first Prudhomme cookbook. I had cooked very little prior to trying recipes from his book and did fine with it. A couple cautions- consider cutting back on the salt as he has a very heavy hand with it. Also the butter can be cut way back in some of the recipes with little loss of taste IMO. It is a great book for a home cook. Very thorough, explicit instructions.

          1. re: Jim Washburn

            Yes - it is Charleston Receipts, one of the best Gullah cuisine collections. I regret not buying that book when I was in Charleston. I need to get it.

            Another gem is the Lafayette Junior League's Talk About Good - a compendium of real cajun recipes. The recipes are simple...I like how the women who post them use their husband's name: like Mrs. Jack Smith. Lafayette is the epicenter of Cajun country. You can explore the differences between Southwestern LA cooking and the "big city" cooking in new Orleans.

            I have an Emeril and a Lagasse, but for some reason, I never use them. It seems like they are more created to sell the book than anything, but I might need to go back and explore them further.

            Come to think of it, Charleston Recepts is a Junior League cookbook as well.

            1. re: Jim Washburn

              I also like Camille Glenn's book.

            2. The New Orleans Cookbook by Rima and Richard Collin is the best that I've come across.

              1. I have a dog-eared copy of a cookbook by Queen Ida (of the Bon Ton Zydeco Band). It's good, but don't know if it's available. Got it at one of her concerts.

                Also I have a Jr. League-type cookbook with spiral binding that's terrific, altho it calls for something called Trapper's Torrido Sauce which I haven't been able to locate. I even asked Calvin Trillin about it - he had no clue.

                I also have a book called The Duchess of Windsor's Favorite Southern Recipes, given to me as a joke gift. Weird to think of Wallace Simpson cooking up some jambalaya in Windsor Castle, eh?

                1 Reply
                1. re: oakjoan

                  Trappey's, now owned by B&G Foods, has whole pickled torrido peppers, which can be found on store shelves here in central Texas. I have a jar in my ice box. You can order them at the link below. I'm not aware of a torrido sauce.