Back in the 80s, before I became a resident of New Orleans, I had to content myself with occasional visits to Louisiana to eat myself into a stupor, take in the sights and sounds of the greatest city in USA, and of course start each day with a mug of coffee and the Times Pic. It was then that I became familiar with the work of the Queen Of Cajun Cooking: Marcelle Bienvenu. Louisiana residents don’t need any introduction to this woman as she’s the preeminent lady of food letters in our great state, but since this site enjoys substantial international traffic I figured it was time to give the devil her due and turn some outsiders on to this culinary legend.
Mayonnaise was the tipping point.
Earlier this month Bienvenue penned an article for the Times Pic that provided a master class on producing handmade mayo. We’ve got it good in New Orleans for this condiment as Blue Plate has been in production locally since 1929.
And it is delicious but pales in comparison to scratch, the kind that Bienvenu instructs her readers on here http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2014/07/the_marvelous_world_of_mayonna.html It had me drooling like a hound dog.
No teetotaler Marcelle, last year she wrote a recipe for a watermelon margarita that is now the gold standard in the Scrumptious house http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2013/07/blender_watermelon_margarita_r.html a half dozen of these and you’ll be ready to take on the world.
When the good cook’s not penning columns for the local paper, she’s going long form and writing cookbooks. The James Beard nominated “Cooking Up A Storm” is a good starting point but “Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux” is actually my favorite. If you want to explore the world of Cajun cooking this book will the cornerstone of your collection.
A veteran of both Commander’s Palace and K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, Bienvenu is also on the staff at the John Folse Culinary Institute in Thibodaux, Louisiana. This is where she guides young culinary students as they make their way toward a career where veteran cooks often earn upwards of 20k!
Here’s a link to Marcelle Bienvenu’s website http://www.marcellebienvenu.com/ she also regularly appears in the Times Pic so next time you’re at Cafe Rose Nicaud browse your way through the paper to the food section and you may get lucky and read some of her work. She’s a Louisiana treasure and one of my favorite food writers.
Part one of this series featured Clementine Paddleford http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/1/18/Food-Writers-I-Admire-Part-1-Clementine-Paddleford-18981967