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'The Cajun Pig: Boucheries, Cochon de Laits and Boudin' by Dixie Poché

"The Cajun Pig: Boucheries, Cochon de Laits and Boudin" by Dixie Poché; Arcadia Publishing; 158 pages

 

In her third history book about Cajun culture, Lafayette author Dixie Poché highlights time-honored communal gatherings, such as boucheries and cochon de laits, that celebrate southwest Louisiana’s French-Acadian heritage.

In "The Cajun Pig: Boucheries, Cochon de Laits and Boudin," Poche’ traveled throughout Cajun country to dive into the stories behind regional specialties such as boudin, pickled pig’s feet, Monday’s comfort dish of red beans and rice, gumbo and hog head cheese.

The book takes a nostalgic look at visiting old-time "mom and pop" Cajun meat markets and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the many dishes that made them famous. It also serves as a travel guide to many local eateries and festivals in which the culinary star is the pig.

“My hands-on research included sampling ponce (stuffed pig stomach), pickled pig’s feet, blood boudin and backbone stew,” the author noted in a news release.

Chef John Folse, who hosts an annual Fete de Boucher (boucherie) in Baton Rouge provided the foreword. Other key gatherings featured in the book include Cadien Toujours Boucherie held in Mermentau Cove and the 60-year-old festival Cochon de Lait in Mansura.

“By exploring our way of life, I discovered many eateries and events that honor our rich traditions,” Poché said.

The Cadien Toujours organization of Mermentau Cove in Acadia Parish strives to preserve the French language and many aspects of the Cajun way of life by hosting entertaining events such as a winter boucherie and a Courir de Mardi Gras.

“Although we recognize what the outcome is for the pig at a boucherie, the dusk-to-dawn affair also nurtures a sense of community. It stems from a necessity to feed families in which virtually every part of the pig is used to create a dish, especially in rural areas before the convenience of refrigeration. Once the pigs are slaughtered, all of the dishes — bacon, boudin, cracklings, hogs head cheese, tasso and more had to be prepared in one day,” Poché said.

Poché's other books on Louisiana’s culinary traditions are "Louisiana Sweets" and "Classic Eateries of Cajun Country." Her books are available in local bookstores, at arcadiapublishing.com or by contacting the author at dixie.poche@gmail.com.