Tag Archives: culinary history

IT’S FINALLY DONE . . . Self-Printing and Self-Editing, Part VI

Well, IT’S FINALLY DONE!  (BTW, its never done) But Beth and I’s book, The Petticoat Rebellion: A Culinary History of French Louisiana is now available IN PRINT from Amazon.com. Just search for Laiche or The Petticoat Rebellion and it will take you right to it (the print version is listed at $8.99).

As stated above, it’s never really done. But we have at least reached a milestone. and since this blog now has the added dimension of being a chronicle of the self printed and self edited work that is writing books in the 21st-century; it seems that there should be a few comments here on this process. First of all, for me anyway, it was not really difficult to understand the process but it was incredibly hard work to follow the process. Two of the largest issues were waiting on CreateSpace and iTunes Connect to process the pages contained in the book. Other than the waiting, there were a few issues with the illustrations(specifically in CreateSpace). Another significant issue was the formatting. and the formatting, and the formatting. Such is the digital aspect of self-publishing and self editing.

Although volume 1 is virtually finished, I am sure that my readers(If any) will point out the typos, the grammatical errors, and any other goofiness that appears in their copy of volume 1. Already in discussing the proof copy with some friends we have already found two errors which will be corrected for the next release, Version 1.4, that is sure to follow (whenever).

But now it’s time to turn my attention back to volume 2.

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Filed under Creole Cooking, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, NEW ORLEANS TRI-CENTENNIAL 1718 TO 2018

HELLO FROM ST. LOUIS

Hearth Arkansas PostTagging along on my coauthor/ photographer/wife’s business trip to St. Louis, I am reveling in first hand visual research on the Arkansas Post and the Illinois Country. We now have, among others, our first original photograph of an 18th century hearth.

Culinary historical research so far (2010 – present) has established that this area provided Lower Louisiana with pork, primarily hams, wheat flour, and wild game produce. This last category includes meat, fur, hides, tallow, and fat/oil. The materials provided by this unexpected adventure into Upper Louisiana will go far to further confirm these ideas as well as generate new information to complete coverage of this oft neglected source of 18th century Creole food ways.

View of St. Louis

Now (Later in the Week) the history of the region is coming more into focus. Lots of French and Indian diplomacy and cultural exchange going on from the 1670’s forward. French Louisiana has surprisingly more depth than a study of New Orleans and it’s surroundings would indicate.

On another note, St. Louis is about as American as a city can be. And surprise, surprise – it’s cuisine is a collection of food from literally all over the world. So far we have sampled St. Louis pizza, eh, it’s a pizza. St. Louis invented the toasted ravioli, turned out to be pretty good. The barbecue pork and beef are excellent.

Now for something completely different. Never stay at the St. Louis Airport Hilton. In-the-room wifi access is a charge, not free. The phone to the front desk does not work. No complimentary breakfast. The parking lot card reader is flaky, never know if you can get in or out until you’re there. Need one say more. However, the staff was very nice and helpful.

Get your FREE copy of
The Petticoat Rebellion Vol. One @ The iBookstore
OR
http://self.gutenberg.org
OR
our website, http://1718neworleans.com

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Filed under 18th Century, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction

Three Blogs in One

http://1718neworleans.com

Self-Publishing and Self-Editing, Part III

St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, 2014. iTunes Producer reads “Uploaded package to the iTunes Store”. We are almost there, in the olden days I could now say my book is at the publishers. But it is not the olden days and while the book is in fact at the publishers that doesn’t mean it will be published in short order. Meanwhile, I am on pins and needles waiting for the OK to come in and for The Petticoat Rebellion to appear in the iBookstore.

So in the meantime, I cannot market, so I am updating the social media pages. I have decided to focus on five venues. First and foremost, the 1718 New Orleans website, then the Facebook page, then the LinkedIn page. In addition to these three, serious work will be undertaken to update and activate more fully the Goodreads page/account and the Project Gutenberg account and whatever they may require for their program. In the midst of all this activity The Petticoat Rebellion also has to be converted from an iBook into an e-book. I will be doing this activity through a very helpful website and publication called Unruly Guides. The centerpiece of this process is an application called Sigil. Never fret, though, this process will be well-documented through this blog. Once the e-book conversion is completed, then submission to Kindle, Smashwords, and Project Gutenberg will be undertaken.

At now, like I don’t have enough to do, research and writing on Volume 2 progresses. To wit…

Doing History

Academic historians spend years pouring over documentary evidence isolating their research data and verifying their information. Unfortunately, this is about where their production levels off. On the scale of Information Architecture, data is followed by information is followed by knowledge is followed by wisdom. It is only in the lecture hall and, hopefully, in the books produced by the historian where said historian can rise to the level of knowledge and wisdom. However, communication in the classroom and sometimes even the books always seems to be bogged down by all the discussion of data and information. Reading histories written in the 1800s and before, then post-Von Ranke in the late 19th and early 20th century, and then continuing on to those written in the later 20th century, a definite pattern can be seen to emerge. Unfortunately, it is a pattern of devolution. The early historians, even going back to Herodotus, communicate at the level of knowledge/wisdom. During much of the 20th century historians communicated at the level of data and hopefully, occasionally, rising to information. Those of us trained in the late 20th century are possibly breaking out of this mold.

Now at the beginning of the 21st. A return can be seen to be re-evolving from the previous “scientific” histories into a more
?enjoyable? type of historical presentation. It is at this juncture where information is being transformed into knowledge that I strive to place my work. For those interested in following the information, the 1718 website has a link to the Project’s bibliography. The iBook/e-book also contains footnotes that links to or references entries in the bibliography. It is my hope that by choosing a mixture of historical fiction (i.e. stories of cooks and cooking in New Orleans during the 18th century); adding the recipes that would be generated by the available foodstuffs and kitchen activities, filling in with actual recipes from 18th-century French cookbooks; and finishing with historical essays that supply factual backgrounds to the stories and recipes; that the combination takes the reader from information to knowledge. I do not go so far as to state that reading these books will lead to wisdom, but I can only hope that my readers see the difference between the fictional and historical entries and take away, not only a knowledge of what this Tricentennial is celebrating but more importantly, a feeling, or an understanding, of what the early settlers of New Orleans and Louisiana had to deal with and SUCCEEDED IN DEALING WITH thereby creating the unique culture that we celebrate today.

To this writer, a retired teacher an active scholar, this is what DOING HISTORY is all about. Enjoy the study, make the recipes, and Bon Appétit. And to La Nouvelle Orleans and it’s culture which created us, Joyeux Anniversaire !!!

Recipe:

One of the glories of Creole Cuisine is its simplicity. Especially in considering 18th Century Creole Cuisine, where official records are quick to chronicle all of the shortages and suffering in the colony, thankfully, there were always enterprising settlers ( and their “creole” descendants) to supply the kitchens and markets of the capital and surrounding settlements (see The Petticoat Rebellion, ch. 18). Where the official colonial records note scarcity and want , private records of the time consistently mark “imported luxuries lavishly spread on carved oak tables: olive oil, brandied fruits, anchovies and invariably, coffee which the Creoles served in spectacular quantities. People ate remarkable amounts of chocolate, considering that it was expensive and hard to come by. . . . a formal dinner {was described} with “many courses”and “many spices”,which was nevertheless followed by desserts”seemingly without end.” Cakes was served at every party;The guests divided up the leftovers and brought them home in their lanterns which might not be needed for light because many parties broke up after dawn.The pastries so generously distributed were not cheap, {wheat} flour was of course in short supply, “ (Vella, pp. 30-32)

This following recipe should be noted for its incredible simplicity. The only extravagant ingredients would be the coconuts and vanilla. The “spice” would have been brought in by smugglers from one of the many ships which traded in the trans-Caribbean Spanish/French/British/Dutch commercial network. Spices, such as vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon, made their way to the Gulf and Caribbean from the Pacific ports of Mexico and New Spain (Petticoat Rebellion, ch. 18). And in reality, the following dessert recipe can skip the vanilla without much detriment to its enjoyment. I have no proof, but I would be willing to say, that good old custard, that is the mixture of milk and eggs and sugar or sweetener probably goes back to time immemorial. Creoles throughout the Caribbean, South America, and the Gulf Coast call this variation on custard-Flan.

Tante Suzanne* (See the 11/5/13 blog entry) in preparation for a family feast (like the one described above) and having acquired some coconuts† and vanilla beans from her market sources proceeded to create her Flan as follows:

CARAMEL SAUCE: (first known use of the French word caramel was 1658)
Mix a cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of light cream, 4 tablespoons butter, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add 1 tablespoon crushed vanilla seeds and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a baking dish. Let it cool and thicken some while you mix the custard.

FLAN:
In a heavy saucepan pour 3 pints of milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 5+ tbsp. sugar and continue simmering 10 to 15 minutes, or until milk has reduced to 3 cups. Strain. To this boiled down (condensed) sugar milk add a pint of coconut milk, some coconut flakes, another pint of of fresh milk, and four or five eggs (depending on size). Mix all of these together very well. Pour the custard slowly over the caramel sauce and bake in a moderate oven for about an hour or so until the custard sets.

† The coconut is not indigenous to tropical America; it was introduced to the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of the Americas in the 16th century. By the end of the 17th century the coconut was well established in Jamaica, but did not become an important plantation crop until the middle of the 19th century.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20061005/eyes/eyes2.html

Whether or not the markets of New Orleans had coconuts in the 1700s is problematic. They were introduced to the Caribbean environment during the 1500s and 1600s, However in San Domingue, {after 1665} “More cattle, and slave agricultural holdings, coffee plantations and spice plantations were implemented, as well as fishing, cultivation of cocoa, coconuts and snuff”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Domingue

If Tante Suzanne access to them in San Domingue or Louisiana she could have used them in this Flan recipe. They are not technically required for this recipe but if you have a romantic streak in you may want to include them.

http://1718neworleans.com

 

 

 

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Filed under Creole Cooking, New Orleans Tercentennial, Recipes, Tri-centennial, 1718, 2018, 300th, anniversary, author, writer, speaker, teacher, non-fiction, Bienville, Iberville, Bayou St. John, Natchez, Indians, Native American, Tunica, Bayougoula, Mississippi,

And so it begins . . .

the Bourbon Flag

Oh! The joy! Oh, the gratification! Oh, the fulfilment! I have been APPROVED by Apple. The company that has guided me for the last 30 years in all my endeavours in the professional world has granted me approval. Oh be still my fluttering heart!

And so now I am ready to press the publish button on my iBook! And so it begins. Now begins the real work The decisions, the decisions . . . should I charge for my book or not? Can I distribute it freely under other formats? Now to market, to market, to sell a fat book. What to do first after the iBook, what next?  Can the book be revised and updated as time goes by? Today the question plaguing me is to print or not to print? I foresee the next year as one of refining, reformatting, and refitting the work – i.e. The Petticoat Rebellion, Vol. 1 (v. 1.0) – enabling it to be distributed through as many channels as possible. All the while composing Vol. 2, again in iBooks.

And the most important question of all, what can I do to make YOU want the book? Do you want it to be free? Would you feel more comfortable if you paid $3.99 or $4.99 for it? Would you download it as an iBook to be read on an iPad or perhaps a Mac? How about a free .pdf that can be read anywhere, but is not as pretty? Or are you going to wait until the Kindle version comes out? Are you interested in the culinary history of French colonial Louisiana? Are you interested, and I believe you are if you are reading this, the 2018 tricentennial? Finally, another big question is, how do I go about telling you about it?

Therefore, as the previous generation might have said, children saluting the flag“Let’s run it up the {virtual, digital} flagpole, and see if anybody salutes!”

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Filed under 18th Century, Creole Cooking, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction, Recipes, Tri-centennial, 1718, 2018, 300th, anniversary, author, writer, speaker, teacher, non-fiction, Bienville, Iberville, Bayou St. John, Natchez, Indians, Native American, Tunica, Bayougoula, Mississippi,

The Petticoat Rebellion, Vol.1 on the horizon

The beginning of December 2013. This is the first of the last blogs of the year. Perhaps two more will happen. 2014 will be the year the 1718 Project starts marketing itself. That process begins with a marketing plan which will evolve and be implemented.  1718 already has a blog – hopefully you’re reading it (https://1718neworleans2018.wordpress.com) right now. 1718 already has a web site  (http://1718neworleans.com) not just an author page but a fully fledged site. It is already tied in with LinkedIn ( http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-louisiana-history-company) and Twitter (which I don’t use because Twitter is just silly). There is already a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Orleans-Tri-Centennial/170804986263088) for the tricentennial of the city of New Orleans.

I think there’s going to be a change in my outlook and approach to this whole project. It occurred to me that this blog and all the rest of the stuff always seems to center around me. Selfishness is something I’ve been battling against since I was a young man. Maybe this marketing opportunity will let me grow a bit and see beyond to what you want. What you the customer, you the reader, you the celebrant of the 2018 Tricentennial, desire to gain.

Volume one of the Petticoat Rebellion, (the 1720s and 1730s) is in the final pre-publication phases. The plan is to have Volume One on iBooks and Kindle as well as the 1718 Project website as a final free version by Mardi Gras, 2014. We truly hope that you find this volume both interesting and useful as well as entertaining.

 

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Filed under 18th Century, Creole Cooking, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction, Tri-centennial, 1718, 2018, 300th, anniversary, author, writer, speaker, teacher, non-fiction, Bienville, Iberville, Bayou St. John, Natchez, Indians, Native American, Tunica, Bayougoula, Mississippi,

How is culinary history done?

http://1718neworleans.com

Thank you Catherine Howard! I was lying in bed this morning wondering what I was going to blog about this week. And what do I find in my inbox when I finally get myself up to attend to my morning activities, but Catherine’s blog about blogging. Yes, I admit it. This blog was started because because as an aspiring author, I was led to believe that 21st Century authors should have a blog. I also admit that I began my book because I thought it raised the possibility that I might be able to make some money with it now that I was retired. Also the fact that I was now retired and desired something intellectual to challenge me and pass the time I suddenly had on my hands. Anyway, now that the book and blog are up and running, both are moving along at a good pace.

Whether or not anybody reads the blog is a completely different question. I have never received any response from anyone, I did receive a comment once, way back when I started, but nothing really since then. And yet, I still write it. So what does this mean? A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with another writer (my wife), and I quoted or misquoted Miss Howard as follows, “No one gives a flying —- about your book.” or words to that effect. While I had accepted this premise intellectually for many years, over the past few months I have come to accept it emotionally. To me, this seems like progress. Another way of putting this is that now I have come to a point where I write because I want to, I write – for no other reason that that I am a historian. This is indeed progress. So, thank you again , Catherine Howard, for putting into words a lesson that all writers must learn.

Now then, what is a culinary history? More to the point, how does one do culinary history? The 1718 Project, of which this culinary history is the first fruit, started out as a straight history exercise. A teacher of history and biblical studies, (truth be told-taught very much by the same methodology) now faced with retirement, I was looking about for something to do. My mind was quite naturally bent to pursuing my lifelong love of historical study. But, what to study? Here it was a few years away from New Orleans’ 300th anniversary, well if that isn’t history I don’t know what is. So now I had it, I would write a history of the founding of New Orleans. Before going on now, if you don’t already know, I am a foodie (more on this later) and a native of the Crescent City. Research commenced on the history book, research as I learned to do in grad school getting my Masters degree. Then something happened. The more primary sources I read, the more they seemed to talk about food. So now my research, notes, and writings split into a history book and a cookbook. But, there were no recipes from the 1700s. At least, none that were readily apparent in the research. But there was a place to begin. The journals of the French explorers of early Louisiana often listed the foods that they ate or that they traded with the Indians. Food lists were also available from shipping manifests. And then, in the research, there appeared the letters of Marie Hachard, an Ursuline nun who was writing home about life in New Orleans. In these letters there were long paragraphs identifying all the foods that were available to the nuns either through their own industry or by gifts to the convent. With this beginning, we started thinking of possible recipes that the colonists would’ve eaten based on the ingredients available. We turned to very early creole cookbooks from the late 1800s. We even discovered two French cookbooks from the 18th century, mainly directed at the aristocratic tables. Research then led to food production and/or resources provided by local farmers, hunters, fishermen, and Pirates. The data began to yield recipes, chapters, and a morass of details and contradictions. Culinary history was being done, and like all things culinary, the kitchen was a royal mess while the meal was being prepared.

Finally, I arrived at a solution for all the seeming inconsistencies. This culinary history, would be a combination: first,  a story-historical fiction-that would tell the tale of life in New Orleans during the 1700s; next, Recipes from the journals by the French explorers of early Louisiana, from the extant French cookbooks of the 1700s, and created from the ingredients, the foodstuffs, that are listed throughout the primary sources. Finally, essays based on ship supply lists, early agricultural records, records of the people who lived and worked in French New Orleans, what they grew and what they ate. There are ample food references found in the primary records. This last is the “hard history” of the book. Many of the recipes are straight from these primary records and sources. Just as many recipes are based on the foods that existed in New Orleans and Lower Louisiana during the 1700s. All is woven together by the tales of Frere Gerard and Tante Suzanne. this my response to the question – how is culinary history done?

http://1718neworleans.com

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Let us welcome Tante Suzanne

Tante Suzanne and Gerard sat down on the levee with their cans of steaming coffee. She opened her aprons to show her companion the treasures hidden therein. Inside were five elongated fruits of red and green color, a half-dozen precious brown nuts, and a handful of little dried out black pods.”Where did those come from!?” exclaimed Gerard. “Shush”, Tante Suzanne said, “you want the whole levee to hear you?”

Gerard had met Suzanne at the levee market a few years earlier. Like himself she was responsible for running the kitchen and the potager for a large family at a nearby home in the city. Although her mother had been African and a slave at the time of her birth, she herself was freeborn. All of her brothers and sisters were freeborn as well, due to an agreement between her mother and the Frenchman she worked for. In fact, before she was 10 years old her mother was also freed by her French owner. Nevertheless, free mother and children alike, had followed Monsieur Miragouen from San Domingue to Mobile in the early 1700s. As those early years in Louisiana passed by, Monsieur Miragouen had established a thriving farm and cattle ranch a few miles up the river from the city on the bay. By her early teens, Suzanne had demonstrated an affinity for the hearth and the garden. And by the time she was 20 she was the cook at the big house on the farm. A few years later her father died and Suzanne was forced to consider her options because of her lascivious half-brother Louis. A tall and handsome woman, Suzanne was often forced into uncomfortable positions as she, Louis and the others were growing up. He would playfully grab her or hold her against a tree making indecent remarks. Now that he had inherited his father’s farm and ranch, things were getting a little too serious for Suzanne.

A few years prior to this, when Governor Bienville had decided to build the new colonial capital at New Orleans about 150 miles west of Mobile, her brother Romulus had decided to go along and help settle the city. As Suzanne’s talents had manifested themselves in the kitchen, so her brother’s had shown up in the stable yards. With his knowledge of and seemingly natural abilities to handle horses, Romulus quickly found work in a large household of a rich merchant in New Orleans. Suzanne decided to move to New Orleans herself and within a few short months she established herself with the same family in their kitchen and gardens. While settling into her new city and  workspaces, she often saw this interesting looking fellow at the markets in town seeming to be a bit out of place. One day, while examining some freshly caught catfish and shrimp being offered by a riverman, she bumped into this fellow, and a conversation began as to how to best prepare these gifts of the Great River.

Over the next few seasons Frére Gerard and Suzanne became fast friends, sharing cups of coffee on the levee along with their recipes, gardening ideas, and methods of running kitchens. On this day at the levee market, Suzanne, called Tante by her household family, had come across one of her acquaintances from the bayous and swamps west of the city. This area has long been a thriving depot for boats and pirogues coming up from Barataria Bay with fabrics and foodstuffs, whose origins in the busy ports of the Caribbean islands and cities along the Gulf Coast from Veracruz to Pensacola, were not officially sanctioned by the New Orleans Superior Council. This is why the spices were hidden in her apron. Now to be shared with her close friend Gerard were some wonderful chili peppers, nutmegs, and cloves.

Gerard gratefully accepted a few of the chili peppers, two of the nutmegs, but left the cloves for Suzanne this time around. On her part, Suzanne was already thinking of the wonderful puddings and cakes she was planning to bake for her household’s next Sunday dinner.

 

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