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Tucker Susan (Editor). Starr S. Frederick (Foreword). New Orleans Cuisine Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories

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Tucker Susan (Editor). Starr S. Frederick (Foreword). New Orleans Cuisine Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories
University Press of Mississippi, 2009. — 276 p. — ISBN-10: 1604731273; ISBN-13: 978-1604731279
Editorial Reviews.
In this dry but informative tour of 14 New Orleans classics, written by locals, readers will find familiar dishes like gumbo, red beans and rice and Oysters Rockefeller, but also surprising local staples such as Turtle Soup and Creole Cream Cheese. Unfortunately, too many writers miss the perfect opportunities to wax rhapsodic over a storied dish and its place in a rarified U.S. culture, struggling to round up everyone who ever had a hand in a given recipe. The result, too often, is a list-like recitation of names and dates. Michael Mizell-Nelson's story of the po-boy sandwich, for example, reads like a legal deposition, and Cynthia LeJeune Nobles's plodding, academic approach to gumbo is enough to make readers fall asleep in their soup bowls. In her defense, Nobles rewards readers with three winning gumbo recipes; those hungry for Oysters Rockefeller or a po-boy will have to find their own, as there's no recipes included for either. The city itself is also notably absent; somehow, the book manages to excise all the mystery and excitement from the capital of the Gothic South. While it should settle some arguments over who invented what, armchair tourists who'd like a taste of the city should check contributor Sara Roahen's far superior Gumbo Tales.
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.
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 evidence from printed texts, oral interviews, literature, travelers’ accounts, economic and social history, and their own taste buds. They have not merely read ten books and written the eleventh, but produced something absolutely original and, in an understated way, important.
This book is a kind of renovation project, an effort to reclaim the vital essence of a living art that has suffered from familiarity. As such, it bears comparison with the restoration of an ancient but timeworn New Orleans house. To do this right, you need to know as much as possible about those who first built and inhabited the structure. This will help us understand why it was made the way it was. It is also important to identify and deal with all the later changes and additions. Some are best torn away, leaving the bold original exposed for the first time in generations. But other additions should be kept, for they may offer something innovative and valid in themselves. This, in essence, is what the authors have done here, not with buildings but with some renowned New Orleans dishes.
Contents :
Setting the Table in New Orleans - Sazerac - French Bread - Shrimp Remoulade - Oysters Rockefeller - Daube Glacée - Turtle Soup - Gumbo - Trout Amandine - Red Beans and Rice - Mirliton and Shrimp - Creole Tomato Salad - Creole Cream Cheese - Bread Pudding - Café Brûlot.
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