Archive for the ‘A Quick Bite’ Category

New Orleans con sabor Latino

September 20, 2010

by Kelsey Parris

Edgar Sierras' Plaintains Foster. Photo by Natalie Root Photography

New Orleans has always been a city that thrived on new people and cultures, absorbing the different traditions and foods and integrating them into the city’s own culture. La Louisiane was never a homogenous community, and its ability to accept different ethnicities and adapt to the land was key to its survival. French, Acadians, Germans, Spanish, Native Americans, and Africans were among those people who had to work together to create livable settlements. Food collaboration was an important part of making ends meet, and settlers learned how to produce and use native foods while introducing their own techniques and flavors, thus creating the cuisine of Louisiana Cajuns and Creole. Over the years, later immigrant populations brought their own cuisines, and some larger groups such as the Sicilians and Vietnamese were able to retain their culinary identity while adapting to the local styles and products.

Historically, New Orleans and Louisiana have been closely tied to Spain, Mexico, and Latin American countries.  Even though Spain ruled the Louisiana territory from 1763 until 1803, Spanish speaking influences never seemed to be able to penetrate the dominant French culture.  There are interesting exceptions to that rule, though, as the Isleños of Saint Bernard Parish show. Groups of Spanish Canary Islanders arrived in 1778 as part of the Spanish government’s plan to protect the city of New Orleans from hostile invasion from the British. It was thought that by settling sympathetic people in vulnerable areas, the threatened invasion of the English from the Eastern territory could be halted.

Although this invasion never quite came to pass, the Isleños settled throughout Louisiana, with a pretty serious concentration in St. Bernard Parish. Since it was a fairly insular community, a dialect of Spanish was spoken, and foods such as paella, empanadillos, flan, and candies, as well as a love of fresh fish and game were passed through the generations. Caldo is one example: a soup that is a traditional Canary Island staple, made with tons of fresh vegetables, beans, pork, and carefully guarded family recipes. The Isleños Museum in Chalmette chronicles the lives of this group, and also holds an annual festival, Los Isleños Fiesta, that celebrates the culture of the community. Spanish and Latin American immigrants must have appreciated the existence of the Spanish cultural community and it gradually expanded and crept into the city of New Orleans.

In 2005, a new threat was realized, and this time the British had nothing to do with it. New Orleans and Louisiana were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and the area was again dependent on immigrant populations to help rebuild and repopulate the city and strengthen the culture that made it special. Latin Americans from Mexico, Honduras, and other Central American countries recognized the need for labor and the potential for good and steady income, and settled in New Orleans to man the rebuilding efforts.

Suddenly a great need for authentic Latin American food arose with this new influx of workers and their families. As the population settled in, the stores and restaurants that sprang up, stocking food supplies and brand names that the immigrants were familiar with, are usually owned and operated by native Spanish speakers who want to reach out and create a sense of community. Shelves overflow with peppers and tortillas, tamale wrappers and corn cakes. Thanks to the higher demand for food on the go, the food truck phenomenon has finally arrived in New Orleans through the now ubiquitous taco trucks.

Adolfo Garcia's LA Drum with Crabmeat Catacones and Avocado Remoulade. Photo by natalie Root Photography

In SoFAB’s newest exhibit, New Orleans con sabor Latino, photographer Natalie Root and curator Zella Llerena have gone through the city and the surrounding areas, finding people with Latin American ties, whether it be ancestral, like Isleños Mike and Donna, first generation, like Chef Adolfo Garcia, or recent arrivals to the city. Through their research, they have found through preparing their traditional food while incorporating elements of Louisiana’s foods, a new cuisine is evolving. Some home cooks add okra to their dishes, others use grits. In professional kitchens, chefs have brought flavors of their homes to the menu while weaving them into the bounty of Louisiana produce and seafood.

This is a cultural shift that seems like it will slowly integrate itself into the food and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, and it is important to recognize the changes that are taking place, and to give credit to those who are helping to make it happen. In the same way that Sicilians and Vietnamese have gradually introduced their foods and communities through stores and restaurants to become part of the fabric of the region’s culture, Latin Americans are poised to settle in.

More reading…

Gambit’s article on Latin American Food stores:

Slate’s article post-K about influx of Latin American workers:

Rio Mar’s site and mission statement:

John Folse’s Caldo

Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yields: 8 Servings


1 pound white beans
1 pound diced ham
1 pound pickled meat or smoked sausage
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 gallon cold water
1 (15-ounce) can string beans
2 (15-ounce) cans mustard greens
2 (15-ounce) cans spinach
1 (15-ounce) can corn
1 (15-ounce) can peas
1 (15-ounce) can sweet potatoes
1 (15-ounce) can yellow squash
1 (15-ounce) can new potatoes
1 and 1/2 heads shredded cabbage2 ears corn
salt and black pepper to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste


In a 12-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ham and pickled meat and sauté until golden brown. Stir in onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic. Saute 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add white beans, tomato sauce and water. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and continue to cook 1 hour or until beans are tender. Blend in all canned vegetables along with cabbage and fresh corn. Continue to cook over medium heat approximately 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Additional water may be added to retain consistency during cooking. Serve as a soup over steamed white rice.

Recipe from


A Quick Bite: Visiting Oyster Beds

June 8, 2010

On June 1, 2010, SoFAB Director Liz Williams spent the day on an oyster boat out of Grand Isle.  Her thoughts follow.

The Collins oyster family in Golden Meadow - from the Times-Picayune

Visiting the closed oyster beds around Grand Isle, Louisiana was a bittersweet experience.  Seeing and hearing about the brave adaptations being made by the oystermen who cannot harvest their own beds.  People who are selling retail from the few beds that are open in order to make ends meet.  Closed restaurants and curtailed menus are everywhere.

Yet the water is calm – covered by pelicans and gulls – flying and diving over the surface.  Dolphins lazily rise for a breath.  It is so peaceful, that it is hard to associate the scene with the turmoil of emotions that are boiling up because of the oil spill in the Gulf Mexico.  The only hint at the oil that had been in and out of the bay a week earlier was a bit of visible oil clinging to marsh grass here and there.  That was enough to make me feel the grip of concern in the pit of my stomach.  It made the spill real to a person in the city who only has indirect evidence of the problem.

The very special people who are in the oyster industry are the guardians of our coast.  The very act of protecting and cultivating their beds creates a protective barrier against storms that helps us all.  That way of life and those protectors are at risk.  In spite of this they good-naturedly took a group of us out in their boat and brought up oysters.  We ate them warm and fresh right on the boat.  The oysters are threatened by oily tides that may come, as well as by the fresh water lowering the salinity of the bay.  That fresh water is being diverted to the bay by the state of Louisiana in an attempt to keep the oil from coming into the bay.  It may be the fresh water that kills the oysters, not the oil.  All of the ironies, all of the uncoordinated actions, everything is culminating in a threat to the oysters.

I enjoyed the oyster festival this past weekend in New Orleans, celebrating the oyster, the oyster farmers and the chefs.  I can only hope that it is the first of many such festivals.


Photos from Liz’s Adventure

Call for Papers: Eating in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Basin

May 11, 2010

Call for Papers

Words in Food Symposium

Eating in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Basin

Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans, in partnership with the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Orleans and the Institute for the Study of Culinary Cultures at Dillard University, is extending a call for papers for its second annual Words in Food Symposium. The symposium will occur on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, 2010.

The theme of the 2010 symposium is Eating in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Basin.   Scholars, researchers, food writers and others will present information about the cross influences in the region, the ecology and cultural exchanges, as well as other issues and ideas. Presentations will focus primarily on the countries that have a coast on the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Participation in the symposium is open to all. We intend to include food presentations as well as oral presentations at this event.

The purpose of these conference presentations is to provide high-quality, innovative education and idea sharing for professionals. Our multiple-day, multiple-track format offers a self-directed, facilitated learning environment with education sessions, interactive forums, and panel discussions. Presentation sessions, designed to transcend all industry sectors, focus on current and emerging issues, best practices, and challenges about food and food-related issues.

Due to the number of proposals expected, we will not be able to accept every one, and we may combine individual proposals with similar topics to create a panel session. We anticipate numerous presenters. We hope you understand with these numbers, we are unable to cover expenses, so speakers are expected to pay travel expenses. We encourage innovative panels and presentations.

Please provide a description of your idea for a presentation or a 90-minute panel discussion in 250 words or less. There are no fees required to submit a proposal.

  • · Please provide contact information: name; title; affiliation/organization; address; phone number; fax Number; email address; website address (if applicable for your topic or organization). If you are proposing a panel presentation, provide the same contact information for each speaker and the moderator.
  • At the present time, proposals must be in English only.
  • Proposals should describe original work.
  • All proposals must be non-sales or marketing orientated.
  • Please list any anticipated audiovisual equipment needs.
  • Proposals are due July 15, 2010.

If accepted, expect to provide a full paper for publication in the Conference Proceedings which will be distributed to conference participants via email. If slide presentations are submitted for inclusion in the Proceedings, a narrative description must accompany them. Proceeding papers are due in electronic form during or immediately following the conference.

To submit by email, send your proposal and any electronic attachments to Chris Smith,

The Underground Gourmet’s Platonic Legacy

March 17, 2010

by Faine E. Greenwood

New Orleans lost one of its longest-standing food legends in January with the passing of 78-year-old Richard H. Collin, otherwise known as the Underground Gourmet. Collin died in Birmingham, where he relocated after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. But the Philadelphia-born Collin was a consummate New Orleans man, and his contribution to the food culture of the city was defined by his game-changing “Underground Gourmet” guidebook to the city.  Arguably the city’s first real restaurant critic, beginning at the New Orleans States-Item in 1972, Collin’s legacy will loom large in NOLA’s culinary world for a long time to come.

The first Underground Gourmet New Orleans guidebooks first appeared in 1970, as part of a series originating in New York City, published by Simon and Schuster. The ambitious and food-obsessed Collin wrote to the publishing company to ask if he might do a New Orleans version, and to his surprise, the publishers awarded the as-yet-unproven restaurant critic the contract.

Collin enthusiastically rose to the challenge, tirelessly researching, eating, and exploring the food of his adopted city, drawing from luxury epicurean palaces, low-rent poboy joints, and ethnic restaurants in almost equal numbers.  The resulting guide was written in Collin’s characteristically laissez-faire style, perfectly suited to the character of the Crescent City – the book proved an immediate success. Opinionated, hyper-intelligent, and adventurous, the Underground Gourmet books provided a fantastic introduction to the city’s food for tourists and locals alike.

Collin was an adventurous eater. His book was one of the first to devote attention and affection to the city’s smaller hole-in-the-wall restaurants, moving beyond the traditional French-Creole stalwarts into the soul food joints, poboy houses, and working man’s lunch-spots of the general public.  Collins didn’t mince words or hang fire on lousy restaurants, either: one chapter is, after all, entitled “The Great Center City Disaster Area,” enumerating Collin’s justifiable disdain for the poor food served to the business lunch set (one can only hope that matters have improved). Collin’s disapproving descriptions include such damnations as “Keystone Kops levels of amateurism,” “watery Northern coffee,” and just plain “absolutely awful.”

But Collin’s praise could be as potent as his criticism: when a restaurant really got something right, The Underground Gourmet’s enthusiasm was marvelously obvious.  As he explained in the introduction to the guide, he approached restaurants as an “incurable optimist,” and was capable of waxing rhapsodic about a “heady” shrimp remoulade at Galatoire’s, an “exquisite” raw oyster, or a “beautiful” dish of butter-soaked barbecued shrimp at Pascal’s Manale.  Needless to say, New Orleans restaurateurs of the era quickly learned to both respect and fear the Underground Gourmet’s criticism.

New Orleans food buffs of all stripes will appreciate a browse-through of the easy to find 1973 revised edition of the guide: the book provides a fascinating time capsule into what New Orleans cuisine was and represented in that particular era, and Collin’s remarks on still-existent restaurants are illuminating and often highly entertaining. Antoine’s, Pascal’s Manale, the Camellia Grille and other modern-day stalwarts are addressed here, as well as a cotorie of gone-but-not-forgotten eating emporiums, some dearly missed and some not so much. Collin’s dining world in 1970’s New Orleans contained considerably more aspics and “tropique” salads then our own does, and startlingly cheaper prices. One cannot help but long for the days when you could still order a nice sirloin steak for the princely sum of $5.50. (One also wonders where the remarkable assemblage of fine Chinese restaurants the city used to possess has gone).

Collin’s notion of a “platonic” dish was perhaps his trademark eating thesis and the most fascinating idea to come out of his food writing:  to the Underground Gourmet, a  “platonic dish” was “the best imaginable realization of a particular dish,” a preparation that perfectly captured the essence of New Orleans cuisine, a dish that could not (and would not) be equaled anywhere else or in any other locale. Commander’s Palace’s Oysters Bienville, Galatoire’s Trout Meuniere Amandine, and Casamento’s New Orleans Oyster Loaf were all awarded this philosophically-meaningful honor: Collin’s was not afraid to make it clear when a dish did meet his always-stringent expectations.

Richard Collin’s wife, Rima, was herself a formidable food authority. A former Fulbright scholar in France, she founded the New Orleans Cooking School in 1980, and provided counsel, advice, and delicious food to her husband for the entirety of their long and prosperous marriage. The two self-described “oddball academics” worked well together inside and outside the home: Richard and Rima authored the classic New Orleans Cookbook in 1975, an ambitious tome that gathered what the couple felt to be the most authentic Creole recipes in existence. The two tirelessly researched the book’s contributions, attempting to gather, test, and perfect “platonic” versions of iconic Creole preparations, ranging from gumbos to oyster loaves to baked quail and other classic Creole specialties.  Their efforts paid off. The resulting two hundred and eighty-eight recipes included remain excellent examples of real-deal Creole cuisine, a quality the public immediately recognized upon the book’s release. The Collin’s couple’s “New Orleans Cookbook” remains in print to this day and is estimated to have sold over 100,000 copies. Another little known fact: the book was edited by legendary editor Judith Jones, best known (of course) for her work with Julia Child.

Richard and Rima Collin also collaborated on “The Pleasures of Seafood,” an extensive treatment of seafood preparations from around the world. After Rima’s passing in 1998, Collin wrote the 2002 “Travels with Rima,” a celebratory and poignant elegy in travelogue form, a book that remains a testament both to the couple’s love and to their shared adventuresome spirit.

Collin’s expertise ranged further than food. He served as a well-loved emeritus professor of history at UNO, and was a highly regarded Theodore Roosevelt scholar, publishing Theodore Roosevelt’s Caribbean in 1990. He delighted in travel (especially with Rima), the opera, and fine art, as well as the many delights of his native Crescent City.  Collin’s life was not one lived without a consideration of pleasure.

The multi-faceted and multi-talented Richard H. Collin will doubtless be fondly remembered and revered for his contribution to New Orleans’s food culture. Let us hope that the Underground Gourmet’s platonic dishes will be enjoyed in the city he loved for a long time to come.

March Membership Drive

March 16, 2010

Year-long Memberships are available for both families and individuals, and for a limited time we’re going to be throwing in an extra present.

For each Kitchen Cabinet membership, we will send the fluer-de-lis cake pan pictured above (a $15 value!) as well as a copy of our very own Red Beans and Ricely Yours cookbook, with all of Louis Armstrong’s favorite recipes! With each Family and Friends Membership, we will send the fleur-de-lis cake pan , allowing you to bake in style to celebrate the Saints, New Orleans, and the end of yet another exciting Mardi Gras season! Each Individual Membership will receive a copy of the Red Beans and Ricely Yours cookbook. This special expires March 31, 2010.

This offer is valid for new members as well as current members who need to renew their year-long membership. If you still have time to do so, but would like to take advantage of this special premium, your membership will be renewed from your original starting date. The Fleur-de-lis cake pans will also be available for sale in our museum gift-shop as well as our online store.

A SoFAB membership entitles you to receive the SoFAB e-newletter and be notified of all programs and special events. You will receive a discounted price at the ticketed events. You also receive a 10% discount at the museum shop. With the Family and Friends, up to 3 guests can enjoy these privileges as well. The Kitchen Cabinet allows up to 5 guests to participate and gives you free access to our regular weekend programming.


Our Favorite Things: December 2009

December 17, 2009

We’ve asked SoFAB staff and friends to share some of their favorite things this holiday season.

Liz Williams, SoFAB Director

Liz Williams, SoFAB Director

1.  Favorite gift in the SoFAB Store: My favorite thing changes a lot, but I think that this month I like the glittered dried okra and the glass fruit.

2.  Best culinary books: I like our books, Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours and Room in the Bowl, but I also really like The Epicurean Collector and Eating Architecture.

3.  Favorite kitchen products: I love different flavors of oil, olive oil, sesame oil, pecan oil.  I recently discovered coffee oil.  Coffee Oil…Where to Buy

4.  Favorite holiday tradition: Sitting around the table talking after a big meal with many generations together.

5. What else? I love color in the kitchen – bright green, red, yellow.  I also like copper.  I like it bright and shiny and I like it as it ages and turns brown and even little oxidized greenish parts.


Stephanie J. Carter, Editor + Dir. of Communications

1.  Favorite thing in the SoFAB Store: This holiday season has been a very busy one.  For that reason, I’ve been doing much of my shopping online.  I’m a fan of the SoFAB online store for holiday purchases.  My favorite thing in it is the PJ’s New Orleans Roast Coffee.  A great stocking stuffer, it offers instant gratification for the groggy on Christmas morning.  Anyone who has been to New Orleans is familiar with PJ’s Coffee.  I love it.  We also sell it in the physical store.

2. Favorite culinary book: I love vintage culinary books.  I have one called the Complete Cookbook for Men, which says that women cannot cook because of an issue with their fingers.  It goes on to say that for the same reason they cannot play the piano or paint either.  Food photography has changed a lot over the years.  A 1980s James Beard Outoor Cooking book seems to embrace the idea that every piece of meat looks better with a fork in it.  When that theme became redundant, the photographer decided to stick a SWORD in a piece of meet.  And the reader is just wondering, Why is their a large sword through that piece of meat?  Obviously, the photographer exhausted this theme.  There is a photo that deviates and it is the funniest – a meal set up outside on a table.  In the background, a naked woman streaks through the forest.  Why, I have no idea.

I love community cookbooks from the 1960s and 70s.  Peppered with tips on how to balance a checkbook and open a bank account, they reflect the changes that were going on in society.  The role of women was changing.

A book that influenced me greatly when I was training to become a chef was Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page’s Culinary Artistry. It focuses on how flavors go together, spanning many different cuisines.  A cook can read it and be surprised at how flavors go together.  The authors explore the concept of food/cooking as art, coming to the conclusion that the culinary arts fits into this definition:  “Making or doing things, using unusual perception, that display form and beauty.”  The book reminds us that cooking is a craft, an art, a luxury, and a necessity.  I believe that it is important to learn the fundamentals really well, before you do anything else.  We cannot break things apart in interesting and palatable ways, before we understand how to put them together.  Another book I love is On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, which explores the science of cooking.  By understand why things work, we can fix them when they don’t.  My favorite new book of the year is John Besh’s My New Orleans.  This book has wonderful recipes, fantastic design, and beautiful photographs.  The first page or so over Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume has my favorite description of beets.

3.  Things in my kitchen that I cannot live without: My  steel by Dickoron.  If you get the Dickoron, use it often and you may never need to sharpen any other way.   I’ve seen cooks get made fun of in the professional kitchen for cutting slowly.  They would have been almost as fast and accurate as everyone else if they had just sharpened their knives.  Besides, a wound heals more quickly if you cut yourself with a sharp knife.  Here are the links to the one that I own…The Dickoron Sapphire Cut Round Steel

4.  Favorite holiday food: I worked as a chef in Austria, where the holiday season is magical.  Because of that, I make spätzle each year.  Sitting outside, around a fire, with a mug of mulled wine and a warm plate of cheese spätzle – perfect.


Kelsey Parris, Vista Americorp Technology Coordinator

My favorite things… since a lot of my favorite things involve food and kitchens, this is a fairly easy topic to pursue.

1.  Favorite Thing in the SoFAB Store: I love our museum store, and I think my favorite item might be the rum cake, closely followed by the ceramic coasters depicting familiar New Orleans restaurant scenes.

2.  Best Culinary Books: This is a revelation to me, but I think my favorite culinary related books right now might be Hemingway’s classics. I’ve just discovered the amount of detail that he puts into every drink and every mouthful of food that his characters consume. Thanks to the Museum of the American Cocktail for that lecture!

3.  Kitchen Tool I cannot live without: As for kitchen tools, I love wooden spoons. I think they are the best invention ever and I rarely use anything else to stir in my kitchen.

4.  Holiday Tradition and Food: My favorite holiday food and tradition go hand in hand–every Christmas my family lazily strolls into the living room and kitchen, we make mimosas and stoke the fire, then we begin to make breakfast. We call it Lord Beaverbrook after a hotel in Canada that made it for us, and it’s been a family staple ever since. You need toasted English muffins, steamed asparagus, smoked salmon, poached eggs, and a hollandaise sauce. Assemble with muffin on the bottom, asparagus and smoked salmon topped with the eggs, and a generous dousing of hollandaise to complete it. With a mimosa, it’s the best breakfast in the world!

5.  My dream kitchen: I’ll need a goodgas stove, like the one my dad has–an industrial grade stainless steal monster.  I’ll have a lot of space and big butcher blocks and paintings of food with cheery colors to keep the kitchen happy. Add a window with lots of sunlight and a great landscape, maybe with a couple of herbs growing on the ledge, and that’s my dream kitchen. If only someone will give me that for Christmas!


Joe Sunseri, SoFAB Business Mgr and Archivest

1.   Favorite thing in the SoFAB store: Definately the deck of cards with a recipe on each card. Since I won’t cook anyway, I can at least play cards in the kitchen while I wait for my food to be delivered.

2.  Favorite Kitchen Appliance: I have always had a fascination with blenders such as the Waring Retro blenders – . Who would have thought that the $25,000 Big Band leader Fred Waring invested in Freddy Osios’ idea in the 1930s would still be a staple in the kitchen almost 80 years later? While Jonas Salk used the “Waring Blender” to mix his polio vaccines in the 1950s, I discovered a couple of decades later how to make the perfect Grasshopper- courtesy of the blender.

3.  Favorite Holiday Food: The rum cakes from the Pirates Alley Trading Company are great. They weigh about 3 lbs each and 2lbs of that is rum. Its like you can squeeze the cake and get out enough rum for a couple of rum & cokes.  4.  Favorite Holiday Tradition: My favorite Christmas tradition is the Kristkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt that appear in German and Austrian cities around December 6th through Christmas. While these markets have traditional German items like German nutcrackers, angelic figurines, shaved wood tree ornaments and cuckoo clocks, you can also find foods such as lebkuchen and other German treats. At these markets one can stroll through the artisans’ stands sipping Gluhwein (a hot spiced wine) in the damp, cold German night air. Of course, in New Orleans, my new holiday tradition has been stumbling on Frenchmen Street on a damp, cold December evening, my beer sloshing all over in one hand with a limp taco from a nearby taco truck in the other while people try to bang out Silent Night on the drum cart.


Chris Smith (behind those books, somewhere), Director of Collections

1.  Favorite thing(s) in the SoFAB store: I really the painted oysters. I cannot imagine the patience and skill it takes to create intricate designs on such a small surface.

2.  On your bookshelf? I like cookbooks, but I really love books that describe culinary history or current events in the culinary industry. I loved Julie and Julia, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, The United States of Arugula, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I have a book devoted to the culinary history of France, and another devoted to the culinary history of Italy and I am looking forward to those. This is how I learn about food.

3.  Favorite kitchen tool? My omelette pan is a cherished possession. I have a lot of little tools with handles that I really like, but the crock that holds all of them is a a favorite item.

4.  Holiday Food: I am not into Christmas at all. I think that means that I need to create some new holiday traditions. I think lasagna or pot roast will become traditions because I love them. Comfort food at Christmas. I love New Year’s – especially the alcohol. I think there’s a reason why a major drinking holiday comes right after a major family holiday.


Allyson Corr, SoFAB Member and Veterinarian

1.  Favorite thing in the SoFAB store: Lacquered gumbo and other replicas of Southern delicacies.

2.  Favorite Culinary books: F.T. Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook and my three-decade collection of Vegetarian Times magazine

3.  Favorite kitchen tool: Koziol pasta server (pictured)- he also operates my kitchen fan and lighting.  My hanging Mexican clay pots- a gift from a friend with unlimited potential uses, which I prefer to simply admire dangling against the brick wall of my kitchen.

4.  Favorite holiday food:
* Appetizer- baked brie (no puff pastry) with mango chutney, rosemary and green apples.
* Main course- Seitan Bourginone or Vegetable torte (with puff pastry and layered mushrooms, spinach/feta and sweet potato).
* Side- Mashed potatoes, however they’re served.  And brussels sprouts.
* Dessert- pie.
* Drink= Mom’s eggnog or mulled wine.

Your Dessert Questions Answered. It’s DamGoodSweet!

November 10, 2009

by Simone Rathle

Washington, D.C. pastry chef David Guas has always brought his New Orleans southern charm to family, peers, admirers, and desserts, but now in his first cookbook –Dam Good Sweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style, published by Taunton Press. With wonderful short, heartfelt memoirs of Guas’ childhood in New Orleans interweaves with homey favorites like the classic Beignet and Chocolate Pralines to the special-occasion treats like the King Cake and the true taste of the south-Red Velvet Cake [trick of his elders- mayonnaise for moistness]. After the neighborhoods Guas grew up in were nearly erased by Katrina, he knew he needed to record and preserve the traditions of his family and region.

STOP the Press! David Guas is setting up an ON-LINE LIVE CHAT for the holidays. Just as the cookbook reaches the bookstores November 1, 2009, Guas will be available every Sunday from 9:30 am until 10:30 am EST, but only for the months of November and December. “Sweet Swap with David Guas” invites everyone to chime in for those puzzling dessert questions or want suggestions for simple, easy, and seasonally entertaining sweets. Just go to his website,, and click on the red velvet cake and start asking away!

Our hope is for you to reach out to our faithful supporters on getting connected with Dam Good Sweet pastry chef David Guas and if you would like to have something fun and peak everyone’s interest with our Baker’s Dozen Quest– tell Guas your best memory of a New Orleans dessert, and he will pick the most noteworthy story teller each week of the first three weeks in November to receive an autographed copy of his cookbook. And the best story overall after the three weeks will win a private cooking session with David Guas in their home and with 5 other friends. Please send your short stories to

Join New Orleans native and Pastry Chef David Guas and all his friends at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum for a dessert sampling from his cookbook on Sunday, December 6, 2009 from 5-7 pm in the late afternoon. He will be signing cookbooks and what a great way to get a head start your Holiday Shopping!  Learn More…

Hot Summer, Cool Produce

August 10, 2009

With the heat index in the 100s in the South and new record high temperatures, this is one exhausting summer. On the bright side, summer is the best time of the year to reap all the fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season, like blueberries, cherries, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The thought of summer food is always a colorful vision of gleaming vegetables and fruit. I reprised a trip to a blueberry farm this month and the berries were a bright navy blue. They were sweet and delicious as always. Also, the local farmers’ markets are bursting at the seams with many vegetables and fruits. It is so easy to get fresh in the south it seems silly not to. Most fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw by the handful, but when you cook with them, you can make it cool in juxtaposition to the scorching summer. For vegetables, salad is always a must when you can spruce it up so vividly, and for fruits, smoothies and parfaits are simple and yummy, but a strawberry cheesecake made with local dairy products can really make the day.IMG_0272