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The New Orleans Cookbook
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102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 1997
As a native of Louisiana no longer living in the Bayou State, I often have an "envie" (that's cajun dialect for "yearning") for the food I grew up with. I got my first copy of this book in 1975 and have cooked with it ever since. It is particularly strong on the classic New Orleans recipes--oysters rockefeller, trout veronique, Bananas Foster--but also covers some basic stuff like how to make a good Bechamel sauce, hollandaise.

It is also quite good at Cajun cooking. Most people outside of Louisiana think you can make anything "Cajun" by dousing it with Tabasco--not so. It's a far subtler cuisine than that, generally no spicier than Szechuan and certainly less spicy than Thai. The recipes for Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, Chicken Macquechoux, and similar stuff have been used so often the pages are sticky with spatterings of oil and roux.

I prefer this GREATLY to Paul Prudhomme's book. (I have both and rarely use Paul's.) If you are interested in a strictly Cajun cookbook and not in something which has New Orleans cuisine, I might recommend Justin Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cooking. Still, The New Orleans Cookbook is by far my most-used Louisiana cookbook, and one of the most used cookbooks in my kitchen
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2000
this is the best! I am not from Louisiana, but I love Cajun and Creole food and have a number of cookbooks on the subjects, including Paul Prudhomme's first. But this is one I use over and over. The pages are stained and spattered, and the book automatically falls open to the recipe for shrimp creole. All of the instructions in the book are very clear, and the food is delicious. I have never had a single failure with any recipe I have tried from this book, and I have at least eight hundred cookbooks and cannot make that claim about many of them. Shrimp creole, however, is on the top ten list of my favorite recipes, especially for company dinners. One night I put the plates down in front of my guests, a lively, convivial, gregarious and loquacious group of people. Every head bent down to eat, and not another word was spoken until each plate was clean - I am not exaggerating. This recipe alone is worth the price of the book. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients or the time it takes to make the roux. Do not be tempted to cook the shrimp for less time than the recipe calls for. The effort of this dish reaps huge benefits, and all the time you put in up front allows you to get the meal on the table with a minimum amount of fuss at dinnertime. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. (Crabmeat Mandeville - a crab salad - is equally divine.) I hope you will buy this book. I know you will enjoy it.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2002
This is my favorite New Orleans cookbook. It contains all of the definitive creole and cajun recipes. I have been cooking from this book for over twenty years. My dishes made from these recipes are good enough to allow me (and anyone else) to pass as a native New Orleanian.
This book is an original. It was first compiled in 1975 -- before the Cajun cuisine became a national fad. In our family recipes are generally referred to as "THE", implying that no mere imitation or substitute will do. What! this in not "THE" potato salad! Are you bringing "THE" gumbo? Rima & Richard Collin have created "THE" New Orleans Cookbook.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2004
If you are looking to cook up the REAL thing, this is cookbook for you. I ate my way through New Orleans in the '70s and '80s using Richard Collin's restaurant guides and never went wrong. A scholar and gourmet, Mr. Collin and his late wife spent years researching and testing recipes. No, many of New Orleans' great dining halls don't give out recipes (oh, for the recipe for some of the departed Le Ruth's dishes, or Mosca's Chicken Cacciatore or Chicken a la Grande!!) but the versions here are in a similar style and thoroughly authentic. The emphasis is more to the Creole rather than the Cajun side, with more subtle flavors and less hotness. But don't worry - there's always plenty of garlic! The preparations aren't always easy and do take time, but you'll be handsome rewarded! I never cook Louisiana style without this book nearby!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2002
This is the best of the best New Orleans cookbooks. I bought my first copy in 1975. It is stained and falling apart and I will not part with it. The recipes are authentic,well written, easily understood and they all come out delicious. I have given copies of the book to each of my children and now my friends want copies, too. I can't recommend this book highly enough. the navy bean soup and the shrimp creole recipes are family favorites, along with the chicken gumbo, soaked salad...I could go on and on. if you like Creole food you can't go wrong with this book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2005
I've got quite a collection of New Orleans cookbooks -- at least a half a dozen -- but this is the one I keep coming back to.

A good way to compare cookbooks is to pull a single recipe from multiple sources and compare them. I do this whenever I want to try a new dish or re-think an old one, so that I can see how different cooks tackle the same dish. I recently did that when I decided to fix Louisiana Dirty Rice, a liver and rice dish that seduces even people who think they hate liver.

Uglesich's recipe, at least in this case, was so simple that I knew it was on the wrong track. Paul Prudhomme's -- like all his recipes -- was so complicated I felt like I'd need to set aside a weekend for the task. But The New Orleans Cookbook, as always, was complex but not dauntingly so. The Dirty Rice that I produced that night was so extraordinary that my wife, who usually hates liver, asked for seconds, then thirds.

Everybody's got their own favorite gumbo recipe, but you certainly can't go wrong with the one in this book. I served it as a first course last Thanksgiving and people's eyes bugged out of their sockets. The Oysters Bienville and Oysters Rockefeller recipes are so good that women will faint and strong men will weep. I'm also crazy about the shrimp creole and red beans and rice recipes. But let's face it: I've done lots of recipes from this book, and have only had one bad result in over twenty-five years.

I first received this book when I was in college. It was a gift from my mother, who was an excellent Creole cook in her own right. I recently had to replace the book because I gave my old copy to my son, who has now gone off to college on his own. Is there any better recommendation for a cookbook than that?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 1998
This book is one of my all time favorite cookbooks. The recipes are wonderful, well written and very helpful. I am originally from Louisiana and have appreciated being able to produce some of the great dishes I have enjoyed back home.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2005
I am a professional caterer and cook.

I love the old classics such as Julia Child's Volumes I and II and the New York Times Cookbook. If you have similar tastes, you'll love this book as well. The recipes are absolutely perfect as is and require no adjusting, not even for salt. Now over 20 years old, my book is bedraggled and stained with the remnants of many happy meals.

Really delicious food that makes friends and family very happy!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 1998
By far the best Louisiana cookbook we own, my husband and I (both La. natives) use it at least twice a month for our "old stand-by" Cajun favorites, as well as an occasional experiment in some of the more ambitious Creole undertakings. It's a sensibly organized collection, with several different versions offered of the standard gumbo and jambalaya recipes, along with some innovative crab and crawfish dishes. The authors' instructions for specific cooking techniques are more precise than in other Louisiana cookbooks I've used, with the final product coming out closer to what you'd find in a REAL New Orleans restaurant. Two minor criticisms: (1) A spiral-bound version would stand up better to frequent use; and (2) the addition of a recipe for muffaletta bread would fill a major gap.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2001
This is the real actual thing. I have inspected perhaps 40 books on the local cuisine. This book easily comes closest to the way regular N'awlins folks cook and eat. It is simple, unpretentious, and quality. People everywhere will be able to either find the ingredients or make simple substitutions with locally available items. Bon appetit!
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