Victorian Cookbook Serves Up Authentic Creole Dishesby Larry Cox on Apr. 19, 2013, under Uncategorized
Mme. Begue’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery by Elizabeth Kettenring Dutrey Begue with a foreword and revised recipes by Poppy Tooker (Pelican Publishing, $16.95
Mme. Begue operated a celebrated restaurant at Decatur and Madison Streets in New Orleans during the Victorian-era. It was opposite the fabled French Market and the cafe quickly became one of the most prominent culinary destinations in the city. While navigating through several husbands, she operated her business serving only one meal per day, between breakfast and lunch, a time what would later become known as brunch. When she died in 1906, food lovers throughout the country mourned her death which was even announced in the New York Times.
After six years before her death, her handwritten recipes triggered one of the first cookbooks that reflected true Creole cuisine. This legendary collection was revised and updated in 1937 and has once again been dusted off for modern cooks with the help of Poppy Tooker, a classically trained chef and cooking teacher. Tooker, who is passionate about the importance of reviving and preserving recipes pivotal to the cultures of New Orleans and Louisiana, is to be commended for her contributions to this project.
The first half of the cook is devoted to the cookery of Mme. Begue, the second recipes from other famous New Orleans chefs including Victor Bero, a chef who arrived in the Crescent City during the 1830s and helped define its cuisine. His Victor’s Resturant became Galatoire’s in 1905.
Simply put, this cookbook is an absolute treasure. In addition to Creole Gumbo, there are authentic recipes for Turtle Soup, Jambalaya of Chicken, Blanquette de Veau, and that most classic of Southern desserts, Chess Pie.
Yolks of 7 eggs
Whole of 1 egg
1 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sweet cream
Dash of nutmeg
Beat egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly mixed; add butter, cream and stiffly beaten egg white and a dash of nutmeg; mix thoroughly and place in pie tin lined with rich crust and bake in moderately oven until nicely browned on top and before the pie loses jelly-like consistency.