Panel Discussion: Writing and Publishing Louisiana Cookbooks
Saturday, April 1, 2023
129 East Main St.
Moderator Stanley Dry and presenters Marcelle Bienvenu and Gerald Patout will discuss why people love and use Cajun cookbooks. This presentation will provide you with their “take” on Louisiana Cajun cooking and how family recipes past down from generation to generation are very much a part of the Cajun culture.
Stanley Dry writes the “Kitchen Gourmet” column for
Louisiana Life magazine and is author of The Essential
Louisiana Cookbook and The Essential Louisiana Seafood
Cookbook and co-author of Gulf South. Formerly senior editor
of Food & Wine and founding editor of Louisiana Cookin’
magazine, his articles have appeared in Food & Wine, Travel &
Leisure, The New York Times, The New York Times Book
Review, Boston Magazine, and Acadiana Profile, among
others. Earlier in his career he was a staff writer for
Encyclopedia Britannica and Associate for Publications at the
Harvard University Program on Technology and Society. He lives in New Iberia.
Having been born and raised in a farming and food family in New Iberia, . . . the hottest, saltiest and sweetest town in America, Gerald Patout enjoys over 35 years of conducting information management and study in various types of research repositories. With a keen interest in Louisiana culinary history, Gerald has professionally served as an information specialist for Domino Sugar Corporation as well as the Curator of Information Resources at The Historic New Orleans Collection. In addition to studying Louisiana food history and culture, Patout remains actively engaged in compiling a noteworthy private collection of Louisiana cookbooks and related ephemera that helps tell the story of Louisiana’s unique and rich culinary history.
As a recently retired library director, Patout now looks forward to pursuing contemporary food policy avenues that connect his background to issues of evolving food patterns, products, markets and understanding how these impact local communities in Acadiana that are seminal to both nurturing and preserving food culture.
Most likely anyone who lives in the Cajun area of Louisiana knows of Marcelle Bienvenu, a cookbook author, food writer, and a passionate advocate of everything Cajun, especially food. Born in St. Martinville, in the very heart of Cajun country and predominately Catholic, she came by her faith and food passions naturally.
“My parents were devoutly Catholic,” she said. “We said prayers every day and went to Mass daily. I went to a Catholic school and was taught by the Mercy Nuns who came here in the 1800s.”
And as for cooking? Well, she attributes her skills to her parents. “My daddy was a great fisherman,” she said, “and he was always cooking over a wood fire. I was always fascinated by his cooking and I was infatuated with it. Here, food is like entertainment. Everybody cooks, and it is a 24-hour-a-day love affair with food. Life has evolved around our culinary traditions, the Spanish, and the Native Americans who lived here.”