From Publishers Weekly
In this dry but informative tour of 14 New Orleans classics, written by locals, readers will find familiar dishes like gumbo, red beans and rice and Oysters Rockefeller, but also surprising local staples such as Turtle Soup and Creole Cream Cheese. Unfortunately, too many writers miss the perfect opportunities to wax rhapsodic over a storied dish and its place in a rarified U.S. culture, struggling to round up everyone who ever had a hand in a given recipe. The result, too often, is a list-like recitation of names and dates. Michael Mizell-Nelson's story of the po-boy sandwich, for example, reads like a legal deposition, and Cynthia LeJeune Nobles's plodding, academic approach to gumbo is enough to make readers fall asleep in their soup bowls. In her defense, Nobles rewards readers with three winning gumbo recipes; those hungry for Oysters Rockefeller or a po-boy will have to find their own, as there's no recipes included for either. The city itself is also notably absent; somehow, the book manages to excise all the mystery and excitement from the capital of the Gothic South. While it should settle some arguments over who invented what, armchair tourists who'd like a taste of the city should check contributor Sara Roahen's far superior Gumbo Tales.
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From the Publisher
New Orleans Cuisine: Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories
provides essays on the unparalleled recognition New Orleans has achieved as the Mecca of mealtime. Devoting each chapter to a signature cocktail, appetizer, sandwich, main course, staple, or dessert, contributors from the New Orleans Culinary Collective plate up the essence of the Big Easy through its number one export: great cooking. This book views the city's cuisine as a whole, forgetting none of its flavorful ethnic influences--French, African American, German, Italian, Spanish, and more.
In servings of such well-recognized foods as shrimp remoulade, Creole tomato salad, turtle soup, and bread pudding, contributors explore a broad range of issues. Essays consider the history of refrigeration and ice in the city, famous restaurants, cooking schools, and the differences between Cajun and Creole cuisines. Biographical sketches of New Orleans's luminaries-- including Mary Land, Corinne Dunbar, and Lena Richard--give personality to the stories. Recipes for each dish or beverage, drawn from historical cookbooks and contemporary chefs, complete the package.
New Orleans Cuisine shows how ingredients, ethnicities, cooks, chefs, and consumers all converged over time to make the city a culinary capital.