Real Cajun – Donald Link
A Book Review by Franz Scheurer
Donald Link knows a thing or two about Louisiana and his Real Cajun book, with the help of Paula Disbrowe and photography by Chris Granger brings rustic home cooking to you.
This is not a slick, beautiful publication; this is a book to cook from. Cajun Country is a world onto itself. Untamed, with snakes, alligators and snapping turtles everywhere and crackling sold at every gas station, it takes a local to show us around and James Beard Award-winning chef David Link is the man to introduce us to Dirty Rice, Spicy Sausage and fresh Crawfish as well as to Granny’s Gumbo, Fish Fries or Étouffées. This is a book about the food of the people, grandfathers and grandmothers, their friends and acquaintances, as they fish, shrimp, hunt and dance.
La Vie Cochon
From Louisiana Waters
All the Fixin’s
Louisiana Sweet Tooth
After a short introduction with notes on cooking and introduction of staples like ‘Donnie’s Spice Mix’ it’s on to the recipes and the stories that go with them. Learn how to make your own bacon or pork belly crackling. Read how to make a ‘Simple Pork Sausage’ and of course ‘My Boudin’. If you are going to give this book the attention it deserves, then you MUST make your own Bodin. The recipe on pages 30/31 is fantastic and the texture of the finished dish is unlike anything you have ever eaten. One of my personal favourites has to be the ‘Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwich’ (are you listening Dan Hong?) on pages 48/49 and you haven’t lived until you have made and eaten ‘Billy Boy’s Crawfish Étouffée on pages 54/55. The book instructs you on how to make your own hot sauce (yes, they like their chillies down there) on page 59 and you can put it to use with the ‘Spicy Shrimp Creole’ on page 69. There is a priceless pic on page 89, which shows friends eating crab, sucking, slurping and finger-licking happy chappies demonstrating the essence of this book. For something a bit unusual for your next outdoor party I suggest you have a look at ‘Uncle Robert’s Smoked Brisket on pages 142/143 and it would go really nicely with the ‘Cucumber, Tomato and Herb Salad’ on page 150 and ‘Cast-Iron Hush Puppies’ on pages 166/167. Louisiana is not just about seafood and meat, but they love their sweets and you should give the ‘Peanut Butter Fudge’ a go or the wonderful and inspiring ‘Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce’ on pages 228/229.
I love this book and all the recipes are easily achievable for the home cook and the ingredients are not hard to obtain.