Saturday, June 13, 2009


I try to start writing early on Saturdays, but this morning after I piddled in the garden, I browsed through a new book that I had to share with you. Before leaving Louisiana last week I popped into the bookstore to pick up a book from the regional section. So many wonderful books get overlooked and I've made it a habit to purchase a Louisiana book whenever I visit.

This trip's selection was a bit like buying a grab bag because the shrink wrap kept me from thumbing through the pages. This morning I peeled away the plastic and eureka!I got a prize!

You Are Where You Eat by Elsa Hahne explores recipes and stories around New Orleans neighborhoods. These are not four star restaurant chef's recipes. These recipes represent the melting pot and heart of New Orleans.

Hahne's beautiful book gives a personal view of each cook and offers a glimpse into their neighborhood. Some of the folks have moved to other areas after Katrina and Hahne includes this in the map of the neighborhoods. One of the book's charms comes from the listing of ingredients that each participant considers the Holy Trinity. In New Orleans cooking that usually means onion, bell pepper, celery. But to some of these Crescent City contributors it means something entirely different. To Yeu Jwo ("Yo" Chin) from Metairie it means onion, garlic, and ginger. To Thomas Dugan Westfeldt II from the Garden District it means Tabasco, butter, Worcestershire sauce.

Hahne includes a section in the back where each person recounts the food they lost in their freezer or refrigerator because of the hurricane, proving to writers that emotion can be found in the smallest details.

With this book and Nina Simone singing My Baby Just Cares for Me, I may be a little late getting to work today.

May your weekend be filled with good eating, good music, and a good book!


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