cover image Acadiana Table

Acadiana Table

George Graham. Harvard Common, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5583-2863-1

Acadiana, the land mass otherwise known as South Louisiana, is a culinary wonderland, and Graham, a food writer and photographer, has spent his life there learning the proper simmering time for alligator and the benefits of lard. A little bit Cajun and a little bit Creole, one part traditionalist and one part disrupter, he combines 125 classic and contemporary recipes with short visits to local haunts such as Fred’s Lounge, where Saturday day drinkers face a 2:00 p.m. last call. Graham observes that territorial history flavors many a dish. The po’boy and the Vietnamese sandwich share French roots, and come together in a soft-shell crab bánh mì. The fine line between Spanish paella and Cajun jambalaya is blurred in paella Louisiane, a pot full of rabbit, pork, chicken and seafood seasoned with the holy trinity of celery, onions, and peppers. Ironically, Graham learned his French onion soup recipe in New York; it’s thickened with gelatinous chicken feet. Acadiana is sugarcane country, so cane molasses is the sweetener for desserts such as the Tabasco, chocolate, and red currant brownies. The backwaters provide supplies for seafood dishes of every stripe, including snapping turtle in a sauce piquant. The 130 color photos tell their own stories, none more vivid than the crawfish-stuffed beet-boiled eggs, a psychedelic side dish of purple, orange, and yellow. (Oct.)