• Creole Cookery.

    New Orleans is noted for its excellent cooking. The fame of the Creole Cuisine has so often been the theme of song and story, and has received such flattering tributes from some of the world's greatest minds, that a brief allusion to the noble art seems a fitting conclusion to a Guide Book, whose object has been to give the stranger true glimpses of life in New Orleans.

  • Creole cookery is not the least part of this life. It has come down as a precious inheritance through long generations of model housewives, and realizing this, THE PICAYUNE proposes in this chapter to lead the tourist right into the heart of the Creole kitchen, by giving selected extracts from the introductions to the recent editions of THE PICAYUNE'S Creole Cook Book, carefully compiled from recipes that have given to the Creole cuisine the unique and interesting and helpful place it occupies in the world's cookery.

  • INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THE PICAYUNE'S CREOLE COOK BOOK. In presenting to the public this Creole Cook Book, THE PICAYUNE is actuated by the desire to fill a want that has been long felt, not only in New Orleans, where the art of good cooking was long ago reduced to a positive science, but in many sections of the country where the fame of our Creole cuisine has spread, and where with slight modifications incident to local supplies of food articles, many of our most delightful recipes may be adapted by the intelligent housekeeper with profit and pleasure.

  • The Creole negro cooks of nearly two hundred years ago, carefully instructed and directed by their white Creole mistresses, who received their inheritance of gastronomic lore from France, where the art of good cooking first had birth, faithfully transmitted their knowledge to their progeny, and these, quick to appreciate and understand, and with a keen intelligence and zeal born of the desire to please, improvised and improved upon the products of the cuisine of Louisiana's mother country; then came the Spanish domination, with its influx of rich and stately dishes, brought over by the grand dames of Spain of a century and a half ago; after that came the gradual amalgamation of the two races on Louisiana soil, and with this was evolved a new school of cookery, partaking of the best elements of the French and Spanish cuisines, and yet peculiarly distinct from either; a system of cookery that has held its own through succeeding generations and which drew from even such a learned authority as Thackeray, that noted tribute to New Orleans, "the old French-Spanish city on the banks of the Mississippi, where, of all the cities in the world; you can eat the most and suffer the least, where claret is as good as at Bordeaux, and where a 'ragout' and a 'bouillabaisse' can be had, the like of which was never eaten in Marseilles or Paris."

  • But the Civil War, with its vast upheavals of social conditions, wrought great changes in the household economy of New Orleans, as it did throughout the South; here, as elsewhere, she who had ruled as the mistress of yesterday became her own cook of today; in nine cases out of ten the younger darkies accepted their freedom with alacrity, but in many ancient families the older Creole "negresses," as they were called, were slow to leave the haunts of the old cuisine and the families of which they felt themselves an integral part. Many lingered on, and the young girls who grew up after that period had opportunities that will never again come to the Creole girls of New Orleans.

  • But soon will the last of the olden negro cooks of ante-bellum days have passed away and their places will not be supplied. The only remedy is for the ladies of the present day to do as their grandmothers did, acquaint themselves thoroughly with the art of cooking in all its important and minutest details, and learn how to properly apply them. To assist them in this, to preserve to future generations the many excellent and matchless recipes of our New Orleans cuisine, to gather these up from the lips of the old Creole negro cooks and the grand old housekeepers who survive, ere they, too, pass away, and Creole cookery, with all its delightful combinations and possibilities, will have become a lost art, is, in a measure, the object of this book.

  • But far and above this, THE PICAYUNE, in compiling this book, has been animated by the laudable desire to teach the great mass of the public how to live cheaply and well. The moral influences of good cooking cannot be too forcibly insisted upon. There is an old saying that "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Every housewife knows the importance of setting a well-cooked meal before her husband if she wishes him to preserve his equanimity of temper. Every mother should know the importance of preparing good, nutritious dishes for her children in the most palatable and appetizing manner, if she would give them that most precious of all gifts "a healthy mind in a healthy body." People are the better, the happier and the longer lived for the good, wholesome, well cooked daily meal.

It is proposed in this book to assist housekeepers generally to set a dainty and appetizing table at a moderate outlay; to give recipes clearly and accurately with simplicity and exactness, so that the problem of "how to live" may become easier of solution and even the most ignorant and inexperienced cook may be able to prepare a toothsome and nutritious meal with success. The housekeeper is not told "to take some of this, a little of that," and "a pinch" of some other ingredient; she is not left to the chance of guessing accidentally at the proper proportions of component parts of any dish, but the relative proportions of all ingredients are given with accuracy, the proper length of time required in cooking is specified to a nicety, and the relative heat of the fire required for cooking different dishes. In all the recipes the quantities are given for dishes for a family of six. The intelligent housekeeper will thus be able to form a happy medium and increase or reduce proportionately according to the size of her family, the number of invited guests, etc.

THE PICAYUNE CREOLE COOK BOOK is not designed for chefs of cuisines; it has been prepared with special appreciation of the wants of the household and of that immense class of housekeepers who, thrown upon their own resources and anxious to learn, are yet ignorant of the simplest details of good cooking, and who, as a rule, have yet to learn that in a well regulated kitchen nothing is ever wasted, but with careful preparation even the "rough ends" of a beef steak may be made into a wholesome, tender and appetizing dish; that "stale bread" may be used in the most delicious "desserts" and "farcies," and "left-over" food from the day* before need not be thrown in the trash-box, but may be made into an endless variety of wholesome and nutritious dishes.

Hence, especial care has been taken to rescue from oblivion many fine old-fashioned dishes, and bring them back into general use - dishes whose places can never be equaled by elegant novelties or fancifully extravagant recipes; special attention Has been given to the simple, every-day home dishes of the Creole household, while those that tempted the gourmet and epicurean in the palmiest days of old Creole cookery have not been admitted. THE PICAYUNE points with pride to the famous "soupes," "gumbos," "ragouts," "entremets," "hors-d'oeuvres" "jambalayas" and "deserts," that in turn receive particular attention. A special chapter has been devoted to the science of making good coffee "fi la Creole," and one to the modes of cooking Louisiana rice. Our Calas," our "Pralines," and "Pacane Amandes," our "Marrons Glaces" and ices, our "Meringues," and our delicious ways of serving Louisiana orange peculiar to ourselves alone, are given in respective order. The history of many dishes is also given, thus affording a glimpse into old Creole hospitality, customs and traditions. Commendable features are the series of menus for holidays and daily suggestions for the table, as also the thoroughly classified list of seasonable foods.

Throughout this work THE PICAYUNE has had but one desire at heart, and that is to reach the wants of every household in our cosmopolitan community; to show the earnest housekeeper how the best food may be prepared at the least cost, and how it is possible for every family from the palace to the cottage, to keep a good table and at the same time an economical one.

"Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well." If this is true of other things, how much more of cooking, upon which the life and health of the family depend. The kitchen should not be looked upon as a place of drudgery; a poet once sung of
"Making drudgery divine;
Who sweeps a room as to God's laws,
Makes that and the action fine."

The benefits that will ultimately accrue to every family, morally and physically, from paying greater attention to the proper preparation of food can not be over-estimated; the fact that good cooking operates to the greatest extent in the preservation of the domestic peace and happiness of a family cannot be gainsaid.


The universal favor with which the First Edition of THE PICAYUNE'S Creole Cook Book was received throughout the United States, the remarkably short time in which the edition was exhausted, and the numerous demands for copies that are continually coming in from all sections, have impelled the publishers to issue a Second Edition of this work.

In yielding thus to the popular demand, THE PICAYUNE feels that it can justly claim that this enlarged and amended edition of its Cook Book more fully represents the progress and perfection of culinary art than any existing work.

The Revised Edition has been prepared with great care. Each recipe that has been added has been tried and tested and is given as the result of personal practical experience and success in the Creole Kitchen. The topics have been more conveniently and systematically classified and arranged, the methods of preparation and manipulation, in many Instances simplified, and the edition, in its entirety, will therefore be found far more complete, comprehensive and valuable than its predecessor. The book has been bound in cloth to render it more serviceable and durable.

With these explanations THE PICAYUNE sends forth the Second Edition of the Creole Cook Book. Its name tells its story and bespeaks its value. It is the only book of the kind.

By Registered Mail to any part of the United States $1.25
Retail price in Picayune Counting Room 1.00

The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904