Side Dish: Baton Rouge authors cook by the seasons _lowres

 

Louisiana’s delicious culinary heritage has been the subject of numerous cookbooks, perhaps more so than that of any other state. Each year, both professional and home cooks offer new cookbooks celebrating the state’s rich food history and this year is no exception.

Among them are a beautifully photographed cookbook focusing on seasonal cooking, a colorful paperback about Creole cooking that’s apparently popular with tourists in New Orleans and two little paperbacks that are more history books than recipe books.

“Five Seasons: A Guide to Seasonal Cooking,” a self-published, 247-page hardcover cookbook by Baton Rouge residents Erin Nugent and Lauren Beth Landry, features a foreword by chef John Folse and photos by Jeannie Frey Rhodes and Leigh Ann Chatagnier. It sells for $39.95.

The co-authors organize their recipes into the seasons of the year, from winter’s Angel Pound Cake with Pomegranate Glaze to summer’s Tomato, Brie and Roasted Garlic Quiche. They also include a fifth season of year-round recipes, such as Chipotle Deviled Eggs and Lemon-Roasted Chicken.

While the book has an interesting mix of recipes, its design is not user-friendly since the light typeface and style of lettering used for recipe titles are difficult to read.

Gift shops in New Orleans’ French Quarter say visitors like “A Celebration of 250 Years of Creole Cooking: The History, The Traditions, The Recipes” by Todd and April Fell (Gris Gris Publications, $24.95). The 136-page paperback is available in gift and bookstores in New Orleans and on Amazon.

The book features more than 100 recipes plus plenty of full-color photographs and historic illustrations. The authors say they thoroughly researched how the recipes were prepared in old Creole kitchens. The authors then tested the recipes before including them in the book. While the Fells discuss pecan pie, they don’t offer a recipe and I wonder if that was an unintentional omission.

Jon Laiche, a retired history teacher, and his wife, Elizabeth Laiche, wrote “The Petticoat Rebellion: A Culinary History of French Colonial Louisiana” to commemorate the upcoming 2018 New Orleans tricentennial. The 138-page paperback, published by The 1718 Project, a division of Technical Support Services Inc., of Franklinton, sells for $8.99 on Amazon.

The authors use a fictional character, Frére Gerard, a lay brother in charge of his order’s kitchen and potager, to give the historical facts about the markets, gardens, kitchens and recipes of the early days of New Orleans. The book is more history than cookbook since there are few recipes, and most of those lack the details that modern cooks demand.

For more information on the 1718 Project, go to 1718neworleans.com.

“Classic Eateries of Cajun Country” by Dixie Poché, of Lafayette, (Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, $21.99) looks at the Acadiana area’s first mom-and-pop restaurants, cafés and bakeries. The 160-page paperback is illustrated with numerous black-and-white photos and includes a glossary of popular Cajun dishes.

The classic eateries begin with the First and Last Chance Café in Donaldsonville and end with Breaux’s Grocery, which opened in Vermilion Parish in 1944. The author includes a lagniappe section about local food products and has 18 recipes in an appendix.

Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at sonnierfood@gmail.com, and follow her on twitter, @CheramieSonnier.