I had the honor of being one of the writers involved with the creation this seductive book via the IACP Gumbo Giveback Project. Our diverse band of sixty photographers, writers and editors fanned out across the city of New Orleans and southern Louisiana over the course of three days last spring to interview and photograph chefs, shrimpers, crabbers, oystermen, restaurateurs, farmers, sausage makers, rice growers, crayfish farmers, and a file gumbo producer.
We covered a lot of ground and met some truly amazing people, who are indeed the heart and soul of this book. I was impressed and at times overwhelmed by the pride of place and humility expressed by everyone that I spoke with. This was my first trip to New Orleans and I fell in love with the people and the place with an intensity that I had not expected prior to my arrival. Since leaving, I have a constant gnawing feeling in my bones that I suspect won’t go away until I return.
We ate wonderful fresh seafood and gumbo and absorbed as much of the culture of Louisiana as we could. We admired the strength of those who had no choice but to continue on with life as usual after ‘the Storm (Hurricane Katrina). For me, this was one of the most enjoyable and special weeks of my life, and I shall always be grateful for the opportunity to be involved with such amazing group of people and so rich a project.
My interview with Chef Frank Brigtsen was a clear example of this man’s deep hospitality even as I took up valuable space in his small, busy kitchen about 4 PM on a Friday afternoon.
All of us who worked on this book were thrilled to donate our time and talents to the project. All net proceeds from the sale of this book will be divided equally between the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans and the Culinary Trust of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
This book contains photographs and essays about the beloved dish known as gumbo – it is not a recipe book. Sales of this book will help to keep the food culture of New Orleans alive and healthy, and give those who purchase it a peek into the tasty world and history of Louisiana gumbo.
Click here to read what Judy Walker, Food Editor of The Times-Picayune, New Orleans had to say about this book: http://blog.nola.com/judywalker/2009/05/new_room_in_the_bowl_from_iacp.html
Who the proceeds recipients are:
The Culinary Trust solicits, manages and distributes funds for educational and charitable programs related to the culinary industry, and is the philanthropic partner of the IACP. Its Endangered Treasures Program recently funded the restoration of the world’s oldest existing cookery manuscript, the 9th century Apicius manuscript held by The New York Academy of Medicine.
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the American South. It opened in June 2008 at the Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans. The museum hosts special exhibits, demonstrations, lectures and tastings that showcase the food and drink of the South. It cooperates with local and regional museums, restaurants, theaters, academic institutions and artists to present richly-textured experiences in multiple venues.