Book Review: Cooking Up a Storm 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Cooking up a storm cover

After Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans in 2005, Cooking Up a Storm was published to tell the story—recipe by recipe—of one of the great food cities of the world and the determination of its citizens to preserve and safeguard their culinary legacy.

In a town obsessed with food, that meant discovering years of collected recipes—many ripped from the newspaper and tucked into cookbooks—were gone. As residents started to rebuild their lives in the aftermath, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans became a post-hurricane swapping place for old recipes that were washed away in the storm.

Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker have compiled 250 of these delicious, authentic recipes along with the stories of how they came to be and what they mean to those who have searched so hard to find them again.

Cooking Up a Storm features more than 240 recipes from home cooks, restaurants, and chefs. Alongside the dishes, the cookbook tells the tales of men and women who lost treasured recipes and those who shared them so generously. These recipes represent the very best of classic and contemporary New Orleans cuisine, from appetizers, soups, and salads to entrees, casseroles, and desserts. And don’t forget the iconic drink recipes, starting with the perfect Sazerac—one of America’s original cocktails—to help you raise a glass to the Big Easy.

Ten years later, the city is back in business and this hardcover edition of the original cookbook is here to celebrate the community’s rebirth by reminding us of the great recipes that belong not only to the city of New Orleans, but are beloved by us all.

Cooking Up a Storm is a real-life love story about a city and its food—a city that fought its way back to life, with its culinary culture intact.

Cooking Up a Storm: 10th Anniversary Edition is available from and

Spring Potato Salad

Since it opened in 1995, the Crescent City Farmers Market (CCFM) has had a huge impact on the New Orleans food scene, and beyond. The Market’s innovations, such as a system to turn food stamps into tokens to use at the markets, have been adopted elsewhere too.

This CCFM recipe came to the newspaper from Kay Roussell, one of many local chefs who have worked with Paul Prudhomme.

{Makes 4 Servings}

1 ½ pounds new potatoes (with skins on), scrubbed and quartered

1/3 cup olive oil

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced, or to taste

3 tablespoons Creole mustard, homemade (see recipe below) or store-bought, or any coarse, grainy brown mustard

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, basil, or parsley, or a combination


Black pepper

Crumbled crisp bacon for serving (optional)

Crumbled feta or Roquefort cheese for serving (optional)


Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan in boiling salted water until tender, but still firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and sauté the garlic until tender and fragrant, but not at all browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the mustard and vinegar to make a hot vinaigrette. Toss with the potatoes and herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the bacon and cheese (if using). Serve hot or at room temperature.

Creole Mustard

Spicy Creole Mustard is a must in New Orleans pantries. It’s used to add zing to a remoulade sauce; to slather on po-boys, the quintessential New Orleans sandwiches; and to tweak mayonnaise and salad dressings. Creole Mustard is similar to coarse-grained European mustards, and probably was first developed by German immigrants.

While Creole Mustard is readily available at local grocery stores and supermarkets, there are those who just might want to make their own, especially if they live many miles from south Louisiana. In response to a request for a recipe from B.M. of New Orleans, D.H. of Mandeville sent in this one, which she describes as “very zingy!” She credits Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking.

{Makes ½ cup}

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

Pinch of white pepper

2 whole cloves

1 clove garlic, sliced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

¼ cup whole mustard seed

2 tablespoons dry mustard

Combine the vinegar, water, oil, celery seed, white pepper, cloves, garlic, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cover tightly and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. When the boiling point is reached, remove the pan from the heat and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes to steep.

Strain the liquid and discard the solids. Put the whole mustard seed and dry mustard into a blender or food processor and blend or process for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the strained liquid and process until the mixture thickens. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle to crack the mustard seeds well, and then whisk them and the dry mustard into the strained liquid.

Creole mustard recipe from Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking: Revised and Enlarged Edition by Bill Neal. Copyright © 1989 by William Frank Neal.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Cooking up a storm, Raincoast Books.


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