What's a good authentic Cajun cookbook??

Discussion in 'Cookbook Reviews' started by capoeirajc, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. capoeirajc

    capoeirajc

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    I want to purchase a non "bastardized" authentic Cajun cookbook if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've liked the books by Prudhomme, Real Cajun by David Link. I've started on John Besh's cookbooks and they're worthwhile so far.
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Keep in mind that Cajun is, at base, home cooking, based on what is available. So, almost by definition, as soon as you write it down, and upgrade it, you have bastardized it to a certain degree.

    Less known than some of the books written by big names, but as authentic as they come, is Cajun and Creole Cooking with Miss Edie & the Colonel."

    It's the only one I've ever read that differentiates the two cuisines, and defines them, as well as just providing recipes. The historical and introductory material alone is priceless. 

    A smallish, older (1989) volume is Bobby Potts' Cookin' Country Cajun. This one explores the importance of food in Cajun culture, as well as presenting fairly authentic recipes.
     
  4. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    @ KY,

    Since I have been living in Europe for such a lengthy time ( 1995 ), I have forgotten a few nuances. Could you explain the difference between Creole and Cajun cuisine --- the basics.

    I have been to New Orleans years ago (1970s), and honestly, I rather have ur explanation than, a computer website´s !

    Thanks.

    Margcata.
     
  5. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Margcata, 

    I lived in southern Louisiana for 15 years....not to step on KY's toes, this is my version.

    Creole is specifically New Orleans, fine dining is all Creole,  if you will.....lots of french influences

    Cajun is country cooking....boils, gumbos, fried food...etc....
     
  6. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    The Prudhomme Family Cookbook is about as hard-core authentic as you could possibly ask for.
     
  7. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    +1 on Folse, especially that huge encyclopedia thing he did.

    On Prudhomme, if you want "authentic country style Cajun," I think in some ways that's only going to be in the Prudhomme Family Cookbook; everything else is spectacularly wonderful, but it's either "going fancy" (Louisiana Kitchen) or experimental/nouveau in some way or other (Fork in the Road, Louisiana Tastes, etc.). I happen to adore Louisiana Kitchen as one of the 10 best home-use cookbooks ever written in English, but I wouldn't tout it as how Cajuns really cook at home. Family Cookbook is a wonderful book, and it is nothing but how Cajuns really cook at home, except for the couple of recipes from Paul himself.
     
  8. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Chef Paul signed my cookbook a few years ago, and said it was the first printing only available in Southern La.......by that time I'd had it for years and it looked trully LOVED....great book. 

    Paul's Mama's yeast rolls are awesome!
     
  9. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    The Family Cookbook and Louisiana Kitchen are masterpieces. The former is a sort of tribute to great food made by desperately poor Cajuns back in the old days. The latter is simply the best cookbook I have ever seen for someone who wants to make great Cajun/Creole food and doesn't know much about it -- especially if you don't have much experience cooking, because you just do what he tells you to do no matter what. Obey. It works -- I promise. Weird, at times, but it works.

    In both cases, as with (I believe) all of Prudhomme's cookbooks, he and his staff painstakingly test everything on home equipment, step by step. They're remarkably reliable. I have only found one screwup, in Lousiana Tastes, and I'm still not quite sure what the problem was -- it could have been me, though I don't think so. Everything else works and requires minimal talent or even experience to pull off wonderfully.
     
  10. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Louisiana Kitchen rocks!
     
  11. developingtaste

    developingtaste

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    Would love feedback on "Cooking up a Storm" put out after the hurricane ripped through New Orleans. I've used some of the recipes, and have loved all I've tried, especially the red bean and rice and the black bean soup. We use bacon instead of fat back for the red beans.

    Is it a 'bastardization'? I've no clue, I'm not from that area, but I do enjoy the recipes.
     
  12. bigaengus

    bigaengus

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    Cajun Cookin? Yes Chef Prudhomme may well be considered the "Bard", but in my swamp, when I want to really show off for friends and family, I go through my Justin Wilson books!


    These 2 are my favorites;

    The Justin Wilson Gourmet and Gourmand Cookbook

    Justin Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cookin'

    I believe he compiled 7 cook books.

    He was a national treasure that I sorely miss!

    100% Louisiana French Cajun, "I Gawr-On-Tee!"
     
  13. willbkool

    willbkool

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    I would have to second, or third, Prudhomme's Louisanna Kitchen, and Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cookin'. I got a used copy of Kitchen from an antique store just this side of the Alabama border many years ago. It looked like a dog had chewn up the cover, but all the inside pages were okay, and it only cost me fifty cents. I still remember wondering why he used powdered garlic and onion as well as fresh garlic and onion, but I went ahead and followed his recipe and my Red Beans and Rice were even better than before.

    I remember watching Justin Wilson on TV many years ago, before there was FoodTV. He did a barbecued oyster recipe, which I wrote down. All it was was some spices mixed into the flour and then deep fried, but boy was it good! Well, I lost the recipe somewhere over the years, but I remembered some of it, but it never seemed quite right. About a year ago, I found a used copy of Homegrown and lo and behold the oyster recipe was in there, and now when it's oyster season, my friends and me get a bushel and pig out. Yi-eeeeee!

    It's starting get warm, so it's time to do one last oyster fest.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  14. willbkool

    willbkool

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    Darn double posting site!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  15. wildcoastboy

    wildcoastboy

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    Prudhomme Family Cookbook - I can second this one, even though I'm selftaught when it comes to Cajun and this was my textbook
     
  16. bigaengus

    bigaengus

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    WillBKool- That barbecued oyster recipe is the bomb! I've put that in front of a bunch of folks, you know the type (Oysters? I don't like oysters!!!), and now they ask if I made any this time!

     

    What I don't like about Prudhommes cook books are that he will call for some measure of "My Magic Seasoning mix" or "My Magic Creole Seasoning". I don't want to have to buy your blasted over priced seasoned salts damn it! I just want a decent kettle of gumbo!
     
  17. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    His earlier books give the spice mix ingredients for each recipe.
     
  18. willbkool

    willbkool

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    My copy of Lousianna Kitchen predates his spice blends I think. Like phatch said, the spices are in each recipe.

    I am definitely going to get a bushel of oysters either this weekend or next. They sell oysters all year long, and that is okay if you're gonna fry them, but I like eating raw ones as well. I will probably make some oysters casino or rockerfellerish ones as well as the fried bar-b-q ones.
     
  19. developingtaste

    developingtaste

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    The way you guys excitedly tout those cookbooks is fun to read; however it makes me wonder.......are you guys trying to be 'nice' by not answering my question about "Cooking up a Storm", not wishing to insult?  Are we talking amature vs professional, or tourist vs native?