Cookbook Review: Hungry Town

I needed this. I have been struggling with food from the Crescent City. Show and tell cookbooks weren’t giving me any answers. I needed to get my arms around the food culture. Understand its guts. I have been searching for a conduit to show me the reason why the big N.O. is important. Give me a time line through menus, a history of natural disasters, culinary roadmap of influences, all bound in eggshell off-white paper. I’m not a hard guy to please. It’s true, I read at a fourth grade level. But, this book sings to me. Knowing a place’s history helps me understand it’s current focus and likely trajectory. It’s like the History Channel high on Truffles: Paul Prudhomme (Commanders Palace) begat Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s), begat Susan Spicer (Bayona), begat Donald Link (Herbsaint). New Orleans has a storied culinary bloodline. Thanks to author Tom Fitzmorris for putting it down on paper.

Cookbook Review: Real Cajun

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the food of the great state of Louisiana. I love the idea of Cajun food. I love the history, the influences, the spices. But, apparently, I suck at making it. Just in time to give me a hand is Donald Link book Real Cajun. It hits on hits the swamp classics (etouffee, gumbo, oysters and the like), with personal stories to back them up.

The James Beard Foundation recently gave Real Cajun top honors for the category of ‘American Cooking’. It also wins the Austin Food Journal award for ‘Kick-Assness’ for it’s local ties. Chef McClung at Jeffrey’s cut his teeth at Links top notch New Orleans restaurant Herbsait. And, it’s co-written by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Austinite Paula Disbrowe.

Cookbook Review: Cooking (that’s the title)

For the longest time, when someone would ask me “What’s a good first cookbook?”, I would recommend Julia Child’s The Way To Cook. Julia and I were having a thing in the 90’s and I want to help her out with book sales. As my personal interests shifted towards books more focused on technique, new recommendations emerged. Now, I’m a fan of Cooking, by James Peterson. It has the right balance. First, the basics: knife sharpening, boning fish, stocks, etc. Then, a wide variety of commonly prepared items: salads, salsas, roasts, pies and many more. Plus, it’s written in a comfortable tone, like your aunt dispensing a family recipe.

Slow Food Event: How To Smoke-Out Indoors

There is nothing quite like the feeling of walking into a hotel conference room and being overwhelmed the smell of frying bacon. Awesome. Marshall and Greg did a great job walking us through the basics of curing, drying, smoking, wet cures and pink salts. The pork was from Richardson Farms. (Did I hear they are milling their own flour now?) If you haven’t been to a Slow Food event in a while (or at all), you should check one out.