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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Meanwhile, Back At Cafe Du Monde...

Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... by Peggy Sweeney-McDonald
Some traditions never change. For years, Cafe Du Monde in Louisiana has been one of those institutions where you can witness a bit of the eclectic and sample the delights of southern fare all at the same time.

Peggy Sweeney-McDonald has gone a step further with her story-telling cookbook, Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde: Life Stories about Food. The reader will find a wealth of stories ranging from quirky fun to heartwarming experience.

"I love stories, always have, and in reflection, I recognize how many of them revolve around the comfort of a meal."
-Missy Crews, Event Producer and Miss Louisiana 1980, Baton Rouge.

Each local personality from business owners, to actors, to writers has added his or her two cents. Even the pictures alone contain a vivid story from various generations, lovingly displayed throughout the book.  It is set forth, simply and movingly, with a touch of creative sparkle from Sweeney-McDonald.

"If I were a food, I would be 85 percent cocoa dark chocolate... all of the pleasure with none of the guilt!"
-Janet Daley Duval, Actress and President of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.

But, of course, what would a cookbook be without the delightful recipes that contain its namesake? Even if one doesn't hail from the South, the reader will feel a connection as they read the small, personal anecdotes associated with each recipe. The sincerity of the food and the recipes don't just warm your body, it warms your soul.

"He had a string of bakeries in the southeast, and all but the New Orleans bakery failed in the depression... I started out as a delivery driver, waking long before dawn to deliver warm pies to the customers on my route. I worked every station in the factory from dough, filling, fry duty, and wrapping. I'm a few decades into the position I call 'passe-par-tout.' The literal translation is 'all-purpose' or 'key for all locks,' which means when the dough man doesn't show-up... I make dough."
-Drew Ramsey, Owner, Hubig's Pies, New Orleans.

I must make mention here that every recipe I have attempted from this cookbook, thus far, has been sensational. Some of my personal favorites being, Hosea's Wine Bottle Buttermilk Biscuits, Four-Generation Olive Salad, Fifteen-Bean Soup, Tequila Shrimp, and Grandma Tute's Pecan Kisses.

The cover of this book calls to readers of all ages and speaks for itself with plates of beignets dusted in powdered sugar and a cup of coffee, all waiting to be consumed.

Sweeney-McDonald has created an intensely gratifying cookbook, that relegates and encapsulates her story along with many others. The food and the people converge within the pages of Cafe Du Monde to create an exquisite and memorable experience.

Peggy Sweeney-McDonald grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She and her husband reside in Los Angeles, California.

Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde by Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, photography by Troy Kleinpeter, 2012 ISBN 978-1-4556-1660-2

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