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Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana Hardcover – April 21, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Donald Link’s childhood in Cajun Country taught him that cooking is all about family, local ingredients, and, most important, taste. There's no blackened redfish here, just delicious recipes (think Crispy Softshell Crab with Chili Glaze or Satsuma Buttermilk Pie) and great memories, informed by his wry sense of humor and passion for food and place. Real Cajun is the real deal and proves, once again, that Link is not only the soul of New Orleans but also one of the most talented chefs in the country.”
“Donald Link is rediscovering traditional Cajun food in all of its diversity and simplicity. His flavors come from backyard organic vegetables, local fish, and heritage breed pork. The essence of Cochon’s cooking is beautifully revealed in this inviting book.”
"Donald Link's cooking embodies the very best–the heart and soul–of New Orleans cuisine; there's no one in the business with more credibility. Real Cajun captures the straight-up, un-cut, raw, and wonderful rustic classics in all their unvarnished, unprettified glory."
“Real Cajun tells Donald Link’s captivating story of growing up in southwest Louisiana and shares with us the incredible no-holds-barred type of cooking and eating that Cajuns live for. With great traditions, vivid tales, and passionate cooking from a real Cajun chef, this cookbook will be a treasure for all who turn its pages.”
“Real Cajun is honest, gutsy, and proudly provincial. Read this book and you'll want to mainline shrimp and crab gumbo. Cook from this book and you'll rationalize an all boudin diet.”
—John T. Edge, general editor of Cornbread Nation
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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")
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a native of south Louisiana and living in New Orleans I must say this an exceptional cookbook. The food you find in hear is very much authentic and in most cases will top mommas... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Jason M.
I'm from Acadiana and grew up on cajun food. This is the best cajun recipe book bar none.Published 1 month ago by Mreck
So far so good. Just got this and have been very pleased with the recipes. Can't wait to try more.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Everything I've made from this has been wonderful. Very well done and allows for improvisation. Even if you follow the recipe to the letter, it's still a good dish.Published 5 months ago by Rudy Jimenez, Jr.
This book was a joy to read. They writing is very good and an interesting read. The dishes are introducted by Donald Link's experience or memory rather than the history of it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Skip Harpold
Best cookbook I have bought in years. Already one of my all time favorites. Worth the price for the crawfish pie recipe alone!Published 5 months ago by Kip
The recipes are straigt forward, easy to follow and turn out great.Published 8 months ago by Eric Goldman