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What's a good authentic Cajun cookbook??

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

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

post #2 of 35

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.

post #3 of 35

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.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 35

 

@ 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.

post #5 of 35

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....

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 35

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

post #7 of 35
post #8 of 35

+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.

post #9 of 35

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!

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 35

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.

post #11 of 35

Louisiana Kitchen rocks!

 

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 35
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.
post #13 of 35

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!"

post #14 of 35

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.


Edited by WillBkool - 2/28/12 at 1:54pm
post #15 of 35

Darn double posting site!

post #16 of 35

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

 

post #17 of 35

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!

post #18 of 35

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

post #19 of 35

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.

post #20 of 35

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?

post #21 of 35

I think you're talking about a cookbook few have seen.

 

post #22 of 35

So glad BigAengus said Justin Wilson I miss his show & him a Great Chef and cooking host  http://www.justinwilson.com/ 

post #23 of 35

I met Mr. Wilson once, and managed to get him to autograph my copy of one of his cook books. I was so happy to get it, I never said a thing about him flirting with my Mrs.! Really a nice guy, and the same off camera as he was on, and doing it before "Bam!" and "Get the F$@# out of my kitchen you DONKEY!" and so many other show boats.

@ Developing Taste- I personally have not seen the book. After just reading Amazons description of it, it sounds like something I would probably leaf through, and my guess is that it would likely contain more Creole recipes than Cajun (there is a difference! Creole read as city cooking, Cajun read as country cooking.) I tend to like old "Parish Cook books" found in second hand shops and rummage sales. They will typically have 100's of recipes that you'll find in those more expensive compendiums on Amazon, and they'll only cost you pennies.

As far as your comments on using bacon vs fat back I think you have to understand the origins of the type of cooking. If you're doing Cajun- You use what you have on hand, because you are more likely to not be so affluent that you can boat over to your local gourmet shop and pick up the proper fixin's. If Bacon's what you got, then that's what you use. Next time you score some fat back, make the recipe again. If you like it better, make it a point to keep some fat back on hand, else keep making it with the bacon.


Full disclosure notice: The author is a DAMNED YANKEE, whom although has no right to tell people how to go about cooking Creole or Cajun food, is an avid fan of most, if not all things from the deep South, especially it food and traditions.

post #24 of 35

I spent a week in New Orleans years ago and fell in love with blackened catfish and alligator pizza.

post #25 of 35

River Roads Receipes

 

(born and raised in Louisiana)

post #26 of 35

Gotcha!  Thanks.  For the record (for anyone who wanted to know), I HAPPEN to be 1/2 Mississippian, so I for one am not damned yankee!  I'm a damned 1/2 yankee!  :D

post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capoeirajc View Post

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

 

The best I've seen is "Talk About Good". 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Cookbook-Louisiana-Lafayette-Junior-League/dp/0935032029

 

post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAengus View Post

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!"


I miss him too!  Great Recipes and entertaining to boot!  Tried many of them and all of them felt good right down to my belly stomach!  :)

 

post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by DevelopingTaste View Post

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.


Who wrote it?  I've never seen the book but I'd be interested in taking a gander at it!  BTW  If you don't want to buy Prudommes seasoning substitute Emeril's Essence for it.  Works

pretty damn fine I guarantee!

post #30 of 35

Nevermind about Cooking up a Storm.  It's written by Marcelle Bienvenu, with input by Emeril Lagasse and edited by Marcelle and Judy Walker.  If I'm not mistaken it's primarily Creole cooking rather than Cajun.  Oh and I found it on Amazon.com.

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