South Louisiana native Belinda Hulin has a new outlook on recipes and cooking, thanks to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. When floodwaters damaged her mother’s home, Brenda was fortunate enough to find family recipes and photos in dry enclaves. The result was “Roux Memories,” Hulin’s oral family histories to accompany beloved recipes and photos to maintain her culinary — and cultural — heritage.
Now, Hulin wants to teach others how to do it. Her latest is “The Keepsake Cookbook: Gathering Delicious Memories One Recipe at a Time.”
“For each picture, for each recipe, there were memories of people, times, and places,” she writes in the book’s introduction. “There were also questions — about relationships, cooking techniques, and recipes unrecorded.”
Hulin realized that it doesn’t take a disaster to lose precious memories and recipes. And that most people want to create keepsake cookbooks but don’t know how or where to start. She offers tips on writing recipes like a pro, basic cookery information, collecting memorabilia, technology options, gathering stories and much more. The fact that Hulin’s from Louisiana and understands the value of food in our lives makes this helpful book that much more special.
If you want a fabulous blueprint for your keepsake cookbook, try Hulin’s “Roux Memories,” one of the most endearing cookbooks I’ve found in a very long time.
Another great summer cookbook that’s a must for cookbook lovers is Martha Hall Foose’s “A Southerly Course: Recipes & Stories from Close to Home.” Foose is a native of Mississippi with influences garnered from throughout the region (you’ll see some references to Louisiana), took home a James Beard Award for her “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” cookbook and was food stylist for the upcoming movie “The Help.” “Southerly Course” explains foods and cooking techniques as well as providing quick ways to enjoy them, and is a joy to read.
Here are a few more summer cookbooks to enjoy:
“Food From Many Greek Kitchen” by Tessa Kiros is a travelogue, cookbook and homage to the beauty of Greece all rolled into one. The recipes are varied, authentic and accompanied by short explanations, but there’s so much more to this lovely cookbook, including breathtaking photos. You’ll feel as if you’re really inside these Greek kitchens, with the Mediterranean breezes floating in.
Comedians, outdoorsmen and cooks Mike Faverman and Pat Mac are hosts of the live shows and DVD series, “Ultimate Camp Cooking.” Now, the duo has published a cookbook of the same name, full of recipes for Dutch Ovens and outdoors skillets —not to mention innovative techniques like eggs in a bag — and complemented by humorous anecdotes and instruction. It’s a handy paperback with a thick cover that’s perfect for bringing along camping, fishing and hunting trips, offering a few good laughs along with stuffed French toast, dill salmon and bananas Foster, to name a few.
For those of us who love good Southern cooking but not spending too much time in the kitchen there’s “Quick-fix Southern: Homemade Hospitality in 30 Minutes or Less” by cookbook author and Southern Living editor Rebecca Lang. Not only are the recipes typical to the South, but so are the ingredients, making it a quick fix farm-to-table cookbook as well.
You’ll want to plant — or enlarge — your tomato garden after reading journalist Barry Eastabrook’s “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.” The book is based on Eastabrook’s James Beard Award-winning article that exposes today’s agribusiness methods, using the tomato as an example, particularly examining the winter tomato crops of Florida. He cites heavy insecticide use, poor and dangerous conditions for Florida’s migrant workers and the loss of nutrition and flavor over the years. There is good news, however; Eastabrook offers examples of successful people growing organic, tasty tomatoes.
The Lafayette Library — and surrounding parishes — has excellent family programming scheduled all summer. Visit http://lafayettepubliclibrary.org, www.vermilion.lib.la.us and others.
The Storytelling Camp-Film Summer Camp for Kids will be Monday through Friday, July 25-29, at Cité des Arts; call Jim Phillips at 290-1601 for more information or visit http://citedesarts.org.
William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream” will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, July 24, at Cite Des Arts. (337) 291-1122.
The Louisiana Creole Research Association will host "Two Centuries of Writing: The Literature of the Creole Community of Color in New Orleans,” at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at the Louisiana Humanities Center, 938 Lafayette St. in New Orleans. Three of La Creole’s member-scholars will present research on written works by New Orleans’ Creoles of color from the 19th and early-20th centuries. They are Caryn Cossé Bell, “Pierre-Aristide Desdunes: Civil War Soldier, Romantic Literary Artist & Civil Rights Activist;” Fatima Shaik, “The Journals of the Société d'Économie;" and Jari C. Honora, “Notre Histoire et Nos Historiens: Rodolphe-Lucien Desdunes, His Work, and His Successors.” Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit www.lacreole.org.