A Louisiana chef shares his secrets and suggests seasonal recipes | Louisiana News

By JAN RISHER, the lawyer

LAPLACE, La. (AP) — With the back-to-back punch of COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida, chef Jarred I. Zeringue decided it was time to shake things up — and finally get the book out. kitchen he had been working on for several years.

Zeringue’s “Southern and Smoked: Cajun Cooking through the Seasons” was published last month by Pelican Publishing.

He said the cookbook is coming out at the perfect time — he just got his restaurant, Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse and Restaurant, in LaPlace back up and running after the building was devastated by Ida.

“We started serving plated lunches again in April,” Zeringue said. “A lot of locals come and say, ‘I wish my house was that far away. I’m glad you’re home cooking. I haven’t done home cooking since August because I still don’t have a kitchen. It’s humiliating.

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Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse, a longtime stop before there was even an Andouille Trail, is a 72-year-old business in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Prior to COVID-19, Zeringue had other restaurants in the French Quarter, including Eat New Orleans, which closed during the pandemic. The lack of tourists forced Zeringue, a native of Vacherie, to focus his energies closer to his roots and create the comfort food he believed people craved.

The de Zeringue family has lived, worked and farmed in the parishes of the river and nearby New Orleans since the early 1700s.

Her new cookbook also celebrates those same roots. With beautiful images (shot by Denny Culbert and Joseph Vidrine) on nearly every page, the 208-page full-color cookbook has the feel of a coffee table book and features over 80 recipes.

“I wrote the cookbook in seasons – winter, spring, summer, and fall,” Zeringue said. “I tried to highlight seasonal dishes and why we eat what we eat when we eat it. I explain the traditions that explain why we eat okra at Christmas and crawfish at Easter for people who may not be from here or haven’t put the two together.

But Zeringue goes beyond the most obvious Louisiana cuisine.

Whether it’s hunting deer, picking blackberries on the side of the road, or the abundance of Creole tomatoes in late spring and early summer, he dives deep into what’s available. in the river parishes that stretch along the Mississippi levees between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“Beyond just looking at when these things are available, I’ve also worked to give you something to do with the ingredients beyond what you’ve always done,” he said.

Take for example the guy who sells Creole tomatoes in front of the smoking room and the restaurant in Zeringue.

“I give some alternative recipes on what to do with okra and creole tomatoes, as well as other ingredients,” he said.

Additionally, it examines the diverse mix of people beyond Cajun and Creole, including Germans, French, Spaniards, Africans, and Native Americans, whose heritages have intertwined in the heat and humidity. of Louisiana for more than 300 years to produce delicacies from largesse. offered by land and water.

In doing so, he draws on his own family history and traditions, including butcher shops.

“My cousin came and brought photos of my family to a butcher shop in 1950. My grandparents had an appointment that day,” he said. “I had never seen these photos before. Creating this cookbook helped me research where my own family came from and when they arrived here.

The cookbook is priced at $35 and widely available.

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