The Picayune's Creole Cook Book

American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection

This cookbook in interesting is so many aspects. First it is a reprint of a book that was originally printed over 100 years ago, in 1901. Therefore much of the wording will sound antiquated. Some may even sound a bit racist; “For one of the most significant changes and one of the saddest, too, in this old city, is the passing of the faithful old negro cooks—the ”mammies”, who felt it a pride and honor, even in poverty, to cling to the fortunes of their former masters……”. Still this gives one the historical flavor of the time and the knowledge of where many of these recipes came from. Also with the wording, is the view that the social change that has occurred has many younger women unable to prepare the food New Orleans is known for. To change this, this cookbook takes the stand that you must start at the very basics. Each section and recipe takes the thought that the reader will have no idea how to do anything. Down to earth suggestions are made to make the housewife’s life easier. Sample menus are given as well as what months certain items should be in season. There is even a section that gives holiday menus and decorations. These are further divided into those who are prosperous and those who need to make meals for about $1 per day. Now, as for the recipes, they are varied and interesting. Don’t expect one or two recipes for oysters or crabs or drinks or whatever. There will be pages of recipes! Each is unique and incorporates foods found in the New Orleans area but in modern times we can easily find them in our grocery stores. On that note, let me also mention there will be some foods that will not be found at the grocery store such as turtle or squirrel. With more than 400 pages, this cookbook could keep you busy reading and experimenting for a long time. I know I’ve found quite a few that I can’t wait to try!

Book Blurb for The Picayune's Creole Cook Book

Published in New Orleans in 1901, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection is widely credited with preserving the rich Creole cooking tradition from extinction. The recipes were gathered directly from the local cooks and housekeepers who had passed them down verbally for generations. 

Published in 1901 in New Orleans, The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book is widely credited with preserving the rich tradition of Creole cooking. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Picayune, a New Orleans newspaper, was determined to save the local cuisine and collected it directly from the cooks and housekeepers who were the first practitioners of the Creole tradition. The book became wildly popular and has had over 15 editions printed throughout the twentieth century. 


As stated in the introduction, The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book was published “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” and the recipes blend a fantastic array of influences from French style and Spanish spices to African fruits and Indian gumbos. The recipe list includes classics such as seafoods, gumbos, cakes and pastries, jambalayas, and fruit drinks, along with many other delectable dishes. With its fascinating historical origins and delicious authentic recipes, The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book is truly the bible of the rich Louisiana culinary tradition.


This edition of The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the society is a research library documenting the lives of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection comprises approximately 1,100 volumes.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2013 5.00