River Road RecipesWhile my earliest memories of the kitchen include a cacophony of sounds, smells and colors that stir feelings of hunger for incredible dishes I have been lucky enough to eat, they also include this book. In fact, I cannot think of a single kitchen in my family that has not contained this revered tome.
It has been produced by the Junior League in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for nearly five decades and is pushing the century mark for editions. It is the #1 all-time best selling community cookbook selling more than 20 million copies. Not bad for a little collection of recipes contributed by local folks.
Today, River Road Recipes is considered the bible of not just Louisiana cuisine but Southern cooking in general. The book has varied little in the years since but a sequel was created in the 1990s and a third book covering low fat recipes has been introduced as well.
This book's strength is in its straight forward presentation. It has no pictures or long essays espousing the romantic glory of the dishes and/or the author's personal recollections. It has just the recipes, period. Everything from gumbo, to chicken fried steak to red velvet cake to lobster rara avis. Hell, you even have a recipe on how to cook possum in some of the earliest editions.
There is even a whole section devoted to the complex dishes typically undertaken by the male of the household when he descends on the kitchen called, obviously, "When Men Cook." Few things are so completely and utterly Southern, Louisiana in particular, than this chapter.
So if you have any interest at all in Southern cooking, picking up a copy of this book isn't even an option. You have to do it. The future generations of your family are depending on it.
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