Monday, December 14, 2009

Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? Book 2

When it rains, it pours! Another fabulous cookbook arrived in the mail a couple of days ago with some Christmas gifts from my aunt Donna! This one is also signed and personalized by the author - NEATO! It's the sequel to a cookbook that I received last year called "Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?" This one has the same title, but is subtitled part 2. It's written by St. Martinville native, Marcelle Bienvenu. Along with a myriad of fantastic recipes, she also chronicles some rather sweet personal stories regarding her friends, family, and childhood growing up on Bayou Teche.

I really enjoy Marcelle's writing about the bounty of a typical larder in Southern Louisiana. She seems very proud of Louisiana hunters and fishermen, and you feel like you're right there in the kitchen cooking with her while she describes step by step how to prepare each dish. Though the ingredients called for in the recipes are simple, they make use of a diverse selection of vegetables, fish, shellfish, and game that those of us who grew up in that part of the world have been spoiled on. For example, you'll see ingredient lists calling for crawfish, duck, veal, redfish, snapper, pecans, okra, and Creole tomatoes among others.

I'm also planning to try some of the numerous recipes for eggplant, one of Marcelle's self-proclaimed favorite ingredients and one of mine too. It turns out her mama grew prize eggplants, so they were a family favorite from the get-go. Her story of learning to make eggplant dressing with her mother was particularly charming and struck a few familiar chords with me. It made me think about all the time I spent with my mother in the kitchen learning how to properly chop vegetables, make a basic white sauce, or peel shrimp. I'm awfully glad I learned how to do those things now that I realize many of my friends didn't have that experience in their childhoods.

You can easily read Marcelle's cookbook from cover to cover in a couple of hours. The mini-narratives given before each collection of recipes are lovely vignettes about life on the Bayou and make me think of home. Check it out for some simple cooking ideas, or a light-hearted read. It's sure to be entertaining either way.

1 comment:

  1. It's also very south Louisiana to ask: How are your Momma and 'em doing? Very southern to inquire about one's family. It implies thoughtfulness on your part.