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Louisiana Eats!: The People, the Food, and Their Stories Hardcover – August 23, 2013
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From the Inside Flap
The People, the Food, and Their Stories
By Poppy Tooker
Photographs by David G. Spielman
[insert other quotes as they come in]
"No one knows Louisiana, its kitchens, and its stories like kitchen soul sister Poppy Tooker. She takes us behind the scenes and behind the stove to reveal the secrets, traditions, recipes, and rituals of the great known and unknown food legends of the state."
-Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, NPR's Kitchen Sisters
A native New Orleanian, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who make it. She hosts the popular weekly radio show Louisiana Eats!, introducing the world to the fascinating personalities and the histories behind foods often taken for granted. A writer for publications such as Fine Cooking, Tooker informs readers on the importance of reviving foods pivotal to Louisiana and New Orleans culture. Her first book, The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook, received a Tabasco Cookbook award and was named Cookbook of the Year by New Orleans Magazine.
This compilation of interview-based essays and recipes about her favorite subject-food-is a delight for cooks, foodies, and everyone who loves a fascinating story. From the connections between Camellia Brandï¿½ red beans and USDA grading systems to the last Uptown stable still housing a mule, each entertaining conversation with Tooker reveals little-known facts and historical side notes about the people and food that have created an internationally acclaimed culture in Louisiana.
[back flap](this is really long -304 words- with all the author's requests)
Poppy Tooker's classical training and love of New Orleans cuisine has been recognized internationally through her participation in various documentary projects, including those produced by the History Channel, the BBC, and the Weather Channel. She holds the distinct honor of having beaten Bobby Flay with her delicious seafood gumbo when she competed on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Tooker helped preserve the food traditions of New Orleans. She worked tirelessly to bring back and restore both restaurants and food providers. For her efforts, she was named a Hero of the Storm by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Tooker with their first Community Service Award, and Southern Living magazine named her a Hero of the New South. In addition, she contributed updated recipes and wrote the foreword for a new edition of the historic Mme. Bï¿½guï¿½'s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery. Tooker lives and, more importantly, cooks in the city of New Orleans.
David G. Spielman is an accomplished photographer whose work spans six continents and includes both fine art and journalistic photography. He was the first photographer for the magazine Culinary Concierge and his images have appeared in numerous local, regional, and national food magazines and books, including Arnaud's Restaurant Cookbook. Spielman is well known for his portraits of political, literary, artistic, and musical figures. He photographed New Orleans musicians in their favorite settings for When Not Performing, a seminal work of portrait photography.
Spielman earned a bachelor of fine arts from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, and studied in Vienna, Austria. He was selected as an artist in residence at the National School of Photography in Arles, France, and his work is represented in private collections as well as in museums across the world. Spielman lives and works in New Orleans.
From the Back Cover
"If Poppy Tooker didn't exist we'd have to invent her, complete with the outrageous jewelry, dead serious scholarship, deep love for her home territory and wonderful way with words. In a land where storytelling and wit are art forms, she shines. You want to know New Orleans people and their food with all their fascinating back stories? Read Poppy . . . there is no one like her anywhere."
-Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of American Public Media's The Splendid Tableï¿½
"Poppy knows the New Orleans culinary scene from the inside out. She has worked hard to preserve New Orleans food traditions like no other person I know. For fans of hers on the airwaves there's now a print version that also pays tribute to the fascinating folks involved with local foodways and restaurants. To put it simply, this book is dessert-that only Poppy can create!"
-Peggy Scott Laborde, WYES-TV
"In Louisiana, our food is black and white, it's Sicilian and Creole, it's what your mama cooks and it's what the fancy chef downtown cooks. Poppy Tooker embodies the institutional memory of this state and in Louisiana Eats! she demonstrates that the peoples of this place (black, white, Voodoo, Catholic, and Jewish) have created a culinary heritage that is as toothsome as it is serious."
-Lolis Eric Elie, author of Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans
"Poppy Tooker's love for the individuals who stubbornly defend Louisiana's food traditions is evident in her prose and her passion. David Spielman's portraits beautifully accompany the stories by emphasizing the dignity of these Louisiana heroes."
-Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USAï¿½
"Poppy Tooker has become the 'go to' person for anything about what's happening on the food scene in and around New Orleans. Her interest in the rich culinary history of New Orleans is to be admired, and I know this book will be enjoyed by all who want to keep our foodways alive and well."
-Marcelle Bienvenu, food columnist, cookbook author, and culinary historian
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Top customer reviews
She also added recipes that are a blend of the old and new, such as fried red beans and rice. At first I thought no way! But after I looked at the recipe, my mouth began to water and I decided that if someone figured out how to sell deep fried red beans and rice on a stick at a State Fair in the Midwest, I would drive there straightaway to get one.
And that's the beauty of this book. While paying homage to the past, she shows us the way to the future. Her optimism, creativity and energy captures the very essence of New Orleans. If you don't know the city, you will after reading her book. And if you do, just sit back and enjoy the stories while you try to decide which recipe you will use first.
Poppy Tooker, author of Louisiana Eats!, has given the locals and the tourists an excellent way to get a taste of some of the stories behind the food. This is a wonderful collection of some interesting and unique stories about some very colorful, some caring and some influential characters that make South Louisiana such a special place to visit or to live.
For locals this will be a walk down memory lane. Ms. Tooker's tales will bring back old names like: Warren LeRuth; the Martin Brothers and their connection to a local favorite - the poor boy; Ruth (Founder of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse), Rodney and Randy Fertel. I didn't remember their connection to the Hingle's of Plaquemines Parish. The book is literally an interesting collection of so many things that make New Orleans special.
For those who have enjoyed New Orleans in the past or plan to in the future, this book will give you some insights that many natives do not know. You will get the inside scoop, like you are sitting in on the conversation Ms. Tooker is having with one of her many guests. Actually that is what you are doing.
One of the stories deals with the legendary Leah Chase and her restaurant Dooky Chase's. If you lived through the aftermath of Katrina, you will be pained by the rebuilding process Leah went through to get the restaurant back open. It brings back a flood of painful memories. If you didn't, no words will ever be able to describe what the locals had to go through.
There are so many interesting stories in this book. While I have had shrimp mirliton on many occasions, I never knew the history of the mirliton.
No book about South Louisiana would be complete without touching on the music that is so much a part of the soul. Again, you will learn some inside scoop about some of the more prominent musicians, the origin of the Jazz Fest and some of the more popular foods featured there.
One of the stories involves Brett Anderson, a food writer for the Times Picayune. Brett says, "The best thing about my job is not that I get to eat out all the time for free, it's that I get to write about a topic that this city is so closely identified with - that people are fascinated with. Food is really something that defines New Orleans." A sad footnote to this story is the decline of the Times Picayune. It is sad to see what was once a great newspaper sink the way it did.
In addition to some wonderful insights, at the end of each chapter are some authentic Creole and Cajun recipes associated with the stories. So you really get a double treat with this book. The production is very high quality - beautiful glossy oversized pages and stunning cover leads you to believe this is a coffee table book. But as you read it and savor over the prospect of trying the various recipes, you are torn between sharing the book with your friends or placing it in the kitchen to use tomorrow.
I know most locals will thoroughly enjoy this book, discovering new things or recalling old memories about New Orleans and the surrounding area. I was a resident of New Orleans for some 50 years and this book brought back some very vivid, pleasant memories. For the tourists, you will gain a much greater appreciation for what makes South Louisiana so special.
I was provided a review copy of this book.