Monday, October 22, 2012

Boudin lover Robert Carriker pens guide to South Louisiana sausage

            Robert Carriker, a UL professor of history and founder of the Boudin Cookoff and, has compiled a guide to South Louisiana’s boudin outlets, titled “Boudin: A Guide to Louisiana's Extraordinary Link.” The book offers a history of the sausage, some historic and recent photographs, a lesson on the sausage’s varieties and a listing of about two dozen boudin spots across South Louisiana, accompanied by photographs from Denny Culbert. Oral histories were provided by the Southern Foodway Alliance. I think many people will question the inclusion or exclusion of their favorite boudin makers in the book, but the author states that those included were meant “to represent a cross section of highly rated boudin from shops that provide a consistently superior experience.”

Other cookbook releases
            Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing opened Jack’s Luxury Oyster in New York, which the New York Times called “one of the most distinctive new restaurants to come along in years” and earned Allison the 2004 James Beard Rising Star award. But the couple chose their home region, moving to the New Orleans area in 2005 and opening first Longbranch days before Katrina, then MiLa in 2007. The couple has published “Southern Comfort: A New Take on the Recipes We Grew Up With,” with photographs by Ed Anderson. The couple’s bilingual — one from Louisiana and the other from Mississippi — so the book features Southern and New Orleans classics plus some innovative dishes, such as sweet potato pappardelle with rich shiitake sauce and cucumber and goat cheese “cannelloni” with marinated tomatoes. 
            Peggy Sweeney-McDonald’s husband has an expression relating to the restaurant that fills your soul, “the place you always go to, your own comfort food place.” When Peggy decided to start a show based on favorite foods in one’s life, she chose “Meanwhile, Back at Café du Monde,” referring to the beignet icon of New Orleans and a personal favorite. Her show premiered in 2010 at the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, then began touring the country. Sweeney-McDonald chronicles her adventures discussing food stories in a book with recipes titled “Meanwhile, Back at Café du Monde: Life Stories about Food.” Participants include noted chefs, food producers, actors, journalists and more with photos by Baton Rouge’s Troy Kleinpeter and an introduction by Karen Benrud, a member of the Café du Monde family.
            Peggy and local contributor Chef Jay Ducote will be appearing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the Kitchenary at Heymann's, 456 Heymann Blvd. in the Oil Center of Lafayette.
            The Lafayette Public Library Foundation will present its second annual spelling bee for adults. Spell-a-bration, a friendly competition among teams in the vein of the national spelling bee, will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Lafayette Science Museum in downtown Lafayette. Louisiana Senator and Cajun personality Fred Mills will serve as emcee.
            All proceeds benefit the Foundation, which assists the Lafayette Public Library.
            Teams are invited to participate; call (337) 593-4770 or email for information or to reserve a spot.
            General admission tickets to the event are $25 in advance, or $35 at the door, and include food and drinks from local restaurants and a special viewing of the museum’s bicentennial exhibit, “Louisiana: 200 Years Later,” which features The Fabrique Nationale/ Browning/Winchester Collection of historic, rare and modern firearms.

Book events
            Don’t forget, the Louisiana Book Festival will offer more than 125 authors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge. There will also be children’s activities, books for sale, food and crafts and much more. The festival is free and open to the public and takes place at the State Library of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Museum, the Louisiana State Capitol and its grounds. In addition, there will be several “WordShops” offered for writers Friday at the State Library and the Capitol Park Museum. For more information, visit or
            Coach Paul Dietzel, author of “Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football,” will speak at noon Wednesday, Oct. 24, as part of the Louisiana State Museum’s Lunchtime Lagniappe series. The event will be at the Capitol Park Museum in downtown Baton Rouge, is free and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch.
            Cory MacLauchlin, who recently published a biography on author John Kennedy Toole titled “Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’,” will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at Saint Street Inn in Lafayette. We have heard that Saint Street Inn will be serving its own version of the Lucky Dog (the famous New Orleans hot dog which features prominently in “A Confederacy of Dunces”).

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at