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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch coverage of the culture and basic recipes behind Cajun cooking.
My sister wanted "a gumbo cookbook;" knowing a few things about Cajun/Creole cooking, I figured I could cover that one.

Visiting a bookstore, I spent a good 20 minutes reading a lot of the recipes and some of the commentary... and I was severely impressed. It makes plain the point that Cajun cooking is far from pretentious, and suggests certain types of...
Published on May 16, 2009 by Trepidation

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40 of 69 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, bad food
I really tried to like this book but ended up donating it to the library after a few months. I just don't like the food. It is a difference in tastes that really shouldn't reflect on the quality of the book. But I will say that Cajun cooking as presented in this book is not for everyone. That's why I give it a lower rating than I would have liked to give.

I...
Published on November 8, 2009 by R. Smith


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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch coverage of the culture and basic recipes behind Cajun cooking., May 16, 2009
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This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
My sister wanted "a gumbo cookbook;" knowing a few things about Cajun/Creole cooking, I figured I could cover that one.

Visiting a bookstore, I spent a good 20 minutes reading a lot of the recipes and some of the commentary... and I was severely impressed. It makes plain the point that Cajun cooking is far from pretentious, and suggests certain types of paprika and other spices with the assurance that whatever says "paprika" in the grocery store will work fine. There's a lot of very practical advice on basic ideas like roux (and some reasoning for using butter in some cases and oil in others), three really great gumbo recipes, a good jambalaya recipe, even tasso, a simple sausage recipe, and at least three recipes that depend on homemade boudin -- for which he provides what seems to be a pretty good recipe and technique. There is cornbread.

The recipes are great, the text is very honest and... earthy... and the whole thing just exudes "this is what works, it's not that complicated, and this is how to do it." I bought my sister a copy for her birthday (didn't leave myself time to wait for shipping), and after wrapping it, used the web browser in my cell phone to hit Amazon and buy myself a copy -- as well as a cast iron pan, which I've needed for a while, and of which this book makes excellent use.

This is right up there with James Peterson's 'Sauces' in terms of useful culinary references. It's a solid, enthusiastic 5/5.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, Chef Link is Real Cajun, September 1, 2009
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This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
I won't drag this out, I cook Cajun and Creole foods nearly exclusively. This book is the best in my collection. I met Chef Link in his Butcher establishment and he is quietly friendly, and non-pretentious. So is his book. The recipes are authentic and exciting at the same time. The story of making his grandmother's gumbo, for his family, after her death is indicative of the tone and heart of this book. It is amazing. Chef, you are a culinary treasure.

RouxBDoo
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but deceptively complicated, February 11, 2011
By 
K. Hawkins "picky mom" (Bolingbrook, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
I love this book. When I read it I really wished that I had a childhood just like Chef Link's, with a grandfather who loved to cook and lots of food-loving extended family.

I made several of the recipes over Thanksgiving and Christmas. They all turned out well, but I do have a few comments.

The very first recipe is for bacon, which I actually made for Christmas presents. I purchased 30 pounds of Kurobuta pork belly and made the recipe exactly as written. The bacon turned out more a lot more salty than I expected. It was delicious in flavoring applications, like soup or greens, but on its own it was too salty to eat more than one slice by itself and this is from someone who LOVES salty food. Next time I think I'll cure for half the stated time and see how it turns out.

Maybe I just picked the recipes that he seemed the most nostalgic about but the recipes I made for Christmas all required extra elements to be made before starting the main recipe. For instance, the "Chocolate Yummy" requires you to make 1) pecan shortbread, 2) chocolate pudding and 3) whipped cream before you assemble your Chocolate Yummy with softened cream cheese and the other three elements. It was totally delicious and worth the effort, but it took me over two hours to make this.

Also, I don't know if Chef Link just has a much hotter stove than I do, but after making two recipes from the book, I automatically started cranking my heat higher than the recipe stated. If he said medium, I went to medium high, if he said medium high, I turned up the gas to full high.

Those things aside, I really enjoy making Chef Link's recipes and the love and care you need to expend making this food is obvious to anyone lucky enough to eat it.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you!, May 2, 2009
By 
D. Foss (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
This book was released coincidental with my last visit to New Orleans. Cochon has become my favourite restaurant there... and since my last visit "Butcher" has opened to compliment the already excellent homestyle fare available at Cochon.
Thanks to Chef Link for sharing his excellent heart-warming cuisine with the rest of us! I'm looking forward to digging into this book and creating a little Cajun love up here in Canada!
Probably the best souvenier of my visit to New Orleans yet...
(The recipes are well-written and look like they are simple enough for the home cook. The background family stories are charming and add a very special southern ambience. I would definitely recommend that this book be added to your culinary library... File it under "comfort")
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Authentic Cajun Cooking Ever!!, October 1, 2009
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This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
I was born and raised in the heart of Cajun Country. St. Martinville, La. This book captures the essence of Real Cajun Cooking just as it's titled. I've been cooking since I was a kid in our commercial kitchen and still do so for a living. Not only a great book, it's a great read!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An empowering and inspiring cookbook, August 10, 2009
This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
After visiting Cochon and Butcher and having some of the best charcuterie I've ever eaten, I couldn't resist this book.. Wise decision! REAL CAJUN is not only well-written and charming, it is distinctly empowering. I never expected that I might ever consider making my own bacon. I had no idea that it was at all within the realm of possibility of a nonprofessional. Nor did i ever think that I might make my own sausages. I have now persuaded my local WholeFood to GIVE me sausage casings, and I'm ready to go at it. Thank you, Chef Link!

His recipes are rock-solid, and so carefully drawn up that a whole range of well-prepared dishes can be tackled by even a cook just recently introduced to the kitchen. Simple foods become extraordinary - for example his recipe for Post-Katrina Meatloaf is terrific. While I changed breadcrumbs to pancko crumbs (a real improvement), this recipe worked so well because of the careful simplicity with which it was developed. Precooking the veggies, plus the introduction of his beloved bacon turn this recipe from a tired kitchen warhorse into a glorious act of ...cuisine! For those of us who don't live anywhere near New Orleans, a most useful product availability list turned me into someone who's considering a crawfish feast, possibly even featuring crawfish boudin or crawfish sausage homemade from Link's recipes. I didn't know, before reading his cookbook that crawfish and other local Louisiana products could be successfully ordered and sent cross-country.

Chef Link makes his recipes simple, uncluttered and delicious. What a wonderful treat for the whole country! Go for it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Cajun, May 15, 2009
This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
Cajun food is not particularly easy--to love or to cook. But it is wonderfully rewarding for those with a little culinary courage and determination. Donald Link's new book is sensational. It is filled with recipes for southern comfort food that you just want to try right away. It is authentically Cajun but every dish has an element of refinement consistent with the cooking at his New Orleans restaurants. And, he makes it feel so easy to do you just want to start cooking. So much great food, so little time...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, October 27, 2010
This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
This is an outstanding cookbook. It is a mix of authentic cajun recipes and some non cajun fair. Great recipes for tasso, gumbo, and crawfish fettuccine. The dirty rice recipe is perticularly good. Also mixed in some nice stories and pictures. One of my favorite cookbooks.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cookbook, November 5, 2010
By 
Kim (Watertown, NY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
Being from New Orleans, I am very picky about "real cajun" food/recipes. This book is the real deal, written by a local New Orleans chef. Wonderfully written with great detail. TRUE local recipes. The illustrations and personal stories are a bonus. I have tried more than ten recipes and have not been disappointed yet and have already purchased an additional book to give to a friend. Fantastic - excellent buy!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Cajun Cooking, November 17, 2010
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This review is from: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana (Hardcover)
This book is a must for authentic cajun cooking. It's down home at it's best. If you are trying to duplicate a dish you have had in Louisiana, this is the closest I have gotten. It's more than just a recipe book with insights into the Link family and how the recipes were developed from family gatherings. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Spicy Crawfish Fettuccine is our family favorite. Recipes fancy enough for a formal gathering or simple enough for a friendly get together. This book makes a great gift for anyone who loves to cook and enjoys Louisiana bayou fare. It will make your soul happy!
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Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana
Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana by Donald Link (Hardcover - April 21, 2009)
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