Saturday, January 9

New Year, New Fabulous Cookbook!

For the last couple of years I've treated myself to a new cookbook every year and this year I'm so excited by "My New Orleans" by John Besh. It's a huge beautiful coffeetable book with fantasticphotographs, but what impresses me the most is his mission to save the rituals, incomperable local ingredients, and what makes New Orleans different from getting muddied by post-Katrina influx and disorganization. With sections on celebrations like the Feast of St. Joseph and Revillion, features on strawberries (from the North Shore strawberry festivals), creole tomatoes, figs, seafood and odd items like mirlitons you'll find out alot about New Orleans you didn't even know. The writing is beautiful. Besh grew up in Slidell, LA and trained in restaurants there and in Europe, fought in Desert Storm and returned to the area to settle with his family where he runs several restaurants, so the stories are personal and the photos feature family and people he knows from the city.

I was most impressed with the section on the Vietnamese community and the new Urban Farm Besh is supporting, a 28 acre farm being developed by the community to allow locals to farm, hold a market and sell to local restaurants. Besh also raises his own hogs and cattle in town for use in his recipes. His comittment to local food is a huge asset to rebuilding a sustainable local economy that benefits the residents of New Orleans.

Last year I picked up these two cookbooks at the Big Blue Marble bookstore next to Weaver's Way co-op in Mt. Airy

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