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New Orleans Cuisine

Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories

Publication Year: 2009

With contributions from Karen Leathem, Patricia Kennedy Livingston, Michael Mizell-Nelson, Cynthia LeJeune Nobles, Sharon Stallworth Nossiter, Sara Roahen, and Susan Tucker New Orleans Cuisine: Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories provides essays on the unparalleled recognition New Orleans has achieved as the Mecca of mealtime. Devoting each chapter to a signature cocktail, appetizer, sandwich, main course, staple, or dessert, contributors from the New Orleans Culinary Collective plate up the essence of the Big Easy through its best-known export: great cooking. This book views the city's cuisine as a whole, forgetting none of its flavorful ethnic influences--French, African American, German, Italian, Spanish, and more. In servings of such well-recognized foods as shrimp remoulade, Creole tomato salad, turtle soup, and bread pudding, contributors explore a broad range of issues. Essays consider the history of refrigeration and ice in the city, famous restaurants, cooking schools, and the differences between Cajun and Creole cuisines. Biographical sketches of New Orleans's luminaries--including Mary Land, Corinne Dunbar, and Lena Richard--give personality to the stories. Recipes for each dish or beverage, drawn from historical cookbooks and contemporary chefs, complete the package. New Orleans Cuisine shows how ingredients, ethnicities, cooks, chefs, and consumers all converged over time to make the city a culinary capital.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiii

There is nothing quite like this book. On the one hand, it is assertively not a cookbook, yet it provides some wonderful and workable recipes and rich insights on fully fourteen iconic New Orleans dishes. On the other hand, it is not a monograph of anthropology, history, sociology, or economics, although it draws on all these fields and more besides. In it, seven talented authors combine...

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pp. xv-xvi

New Orleans Cuisine: Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories was developed from a project of the New Orleans Culinary History Group. Like the food of New Orleans, this book would not have been possible without the help of many people and institutions. Archival and research assistance from the Historic New Orleans Collection, especially from Gerald Patout,...

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pp. 3-27

New Orleans is a city of extremes and always has been. Visitors and residents alike have remarked upon the wretched state of its infrastructure (from streets to levees), its underbelly of poverty, and the great wealth visible today in its mansions and sometimes subtle, sometimes overt class divisions. Scarcity and plenty have lived side by side since 1718. With...

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pp. 28-37

The Sazerac is New Orleans’ most emblematic cocktail, first, because of its longevity and, second, because its chronological permutations help to recount key moments in the city’s own history. Today’s Sazerac is a chilled blend of rye whiskey or bourbon, a touch of anise-flavored liqueur, dashes from one or two bitters formulas, sugar, and a twist of lemon, which is...

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pp. 38-53

Bread symbolizes maintenance of life as well as deprivation, as in a bread-and-water diet. A staple throughout the world, bread figures prominently throughout New Orleans culinary history as variations on the French cap loaf and other styles. It accompanied the finest meals, and stale loaves from the same bakeries fed the poor. New Orleanians could build a...

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pp. 54-61

Remoulade sauce as interpreted in New Orleans is the most striking example of the evolution of a distinctive Creole recipe from its European ancestor. Unrecognizable in its New Orleans guises, it has little in common with its French relative. In France, the same r

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pp. 62-72

New Orleanians are likely to describe their raw “ersters” as salty, sweet, slippery, briny, and creamy. Some call them metallic, coppery, and even tinny (and those are the positive adjectives). But regardless of these not-so-flattering descriptions, a peek inside restaurants such as Casamento’s (not in the summer, of course), Acme, Felix’s, or Pascal’s Manale...

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pp. 73-86

“Daube Froide à la Créole has only to be tried once to be repeated,” proclaimed the authors of The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book in 1901. The Picayune’s boast is echoed throughout many later New Orleans cookbooks. Some printed descriptions, however, are not so uniformly pleasing and are not, to the early twenty-first-century palate, always...

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pp. 87-97

Soup is a significant cultural element of New Orleans tables, be it a delicate but flavorful opening course or a thick and filling main dish. Gumbo takes its place as a soup so special that it creates its own category. Creole vegetable “soup bunches,” composed of slices of cabbage, a turnip or two, carrots, parsley, and green onion, are as popular today in the city’s grocery...

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pp. 98-115

Gumbo is the star of New Orleans gastronomy. Savory, dark, piquant, complex, and downright mysterious, this soup is the one New Orleans dish that first-time visitors think they have to have. More than a tourist “to do,” however, gumbo is a staple menu item found in many Louisiana homes, especially in the southern parishes. It is such an important thread in...

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pp. 116-127

When GQ Magazine food writer Alan Richman sniffed that the trout meunière amandine he had for lunch at Galatoire’s in 2006 “looked and tasted fried rather than sautéed,” the ensuing storm in a sauté pan may have been his intention. If so, he surely achieved his goal, for his review was promptly answered by Brett Anderson, restaurant critic...

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pp. 128-139

For many years, Louis Armstrong, arguably New Orleans’ most famous native son, signed his letters, “Am red beans and ricely yours, Louis.” Armstrong loved red beans, which he learned to cook at an early age. When he was released from his year-and-a-half stay at the Colored Waif ’s Home, where he was sent for shooting a gun in the air on New Year’s in 1913,...

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pp. 140-152

The late Creole chef Austin Leslie included the above recipe in his cookbook published in 2000 with the note, “Here’s what happens when Caribbean squash meets with pure Creole-Soul!” In many ways, his description is an apt one. Historically, mirlitons have a strong connection to the Caribbean, and emotionally, they evoke the memory of countless simple home gardens in New Orleans...

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pp. 153-163

Most New Orleanians have a certain amount of hubris about all their foods. Yet, for none but the Creole tomato do they claim world standing. Cookbook writer Lee Bailey qualifies his love of this vegetable/fruit stating, “I was born in Louisiana so I guess it’s okay for me to say that Creole tomatoes are the best in the world.” Writing of his family’s...

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pp. 164-178

Ask any New Orleanian of a “certain maturity” about their fondest breakfast memories and Creole cream cheese will invariably rank high on the list. In its modern heyday, the first half of the twentieth century, this unpretentious farmhouse-style, single-curd, mildly tart artisan cheese was, for many, a morning staple. Bleary-eyed Louisianans usually topped...

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pp. 179-191

Dessert in New Orleans is not as often discussed as the other courses set upon the table. Yet bread pudding is one of those dishes lately associated with the city. Evocative in its simplicity and embellished with a sauce of butter, liquor, and sweetness, this particular sweet holds center stage on the dessert table, and any investigation of it tells a story that is revealing...

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pp. 192-203

“A good cup of Creole Coffee! Is there anything in the whole range of food substances to be compared with it?” So begins the first chapter of second edition of The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook, which devotes two and a half closely written pages to the proper making and healthful benefits of the same. By the time those words were published in 1901, coffee had been shipped to and through New...


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pp. 205-225


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pp. 227-242


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pp. 243


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pp. 245-259

E-ISBN-13: 9781604736458
E-ISBN-10: 1604736453
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604731279
Print-ISBN-10: 1604731273

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2009