Review: Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde

With Hurricane Isaac giving the Big Easy a thorough washing it seemed like a great time to talk about a new book that takes its name and its inspiration from this beautiful Southern city.

The South was settled by cultures who value their oral traditions, the Scots, the Irish, the vagabond French Creoles to name a few.  Because of this Southerners have always been good story tellers.  That has been demonstrated by the literary works of William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Harper Lee and others.  It can also be seen in the story telling song lyrics by artists such as Hank Williams, Tom T. Hall and the like.  Southerners can tell you what happened and do it in a way that keeps you enthralled.

Meanwhile, Back at Café Du MondeIf there is anything Southerners love more than spinning a good yarn it’s eating.  In Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde our oral and culinary traditions walk hand-in-hand.  It is a Sunday potluck supper in book form.

The beauty of Meanwhile, Back At Café DuMonde is that it captures that magic.  Created and edited by Peggy Sweeney-McDonald with photography by Troy Kleinpeter, the book is a written record of several conversations (for lack of a better word).  Based on the 2010 and 2011 live events also entitled “Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde”, which consisted of 67 foodie monologues that invoked people’s favorite comfort foods, recalled tasty memories of life, love, family and friends.  It features fifty original essays by chefs, restaurant owners, business owners, waiters, and more and is accompanied by Kleinpeter’s fun photographs of monologue subjects, such as beloved restaurants, memorable pies, and food-loving family members. It all started with Café Du Monde, the place you always go for comfort food.

Each show featured a cast of chefs, food writers and foodies from all walks of life.  The shows were held across the country in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Natchez and of course New Orleans.  And check out this sampling of guest/story tellers: Chef Hoss Zare (Zare’s Flytrap Restaurant in San Francisco), Chef/blogger Jay Ducote , Lynn The cast from the show at Boutin's in Baton Rouge.Boutin (owner of Boutins in Baton Rouge), Chef Alex Marsh (The Jetset Chef), John Gray (jazz artist), Kevin Cline (owner of the The Front Porch in San Francisco), Chef Susan Irby (host of Bikini Lifestyles), Chef Andrea Froncillo (Boboquivari’s The Steak in San Francisco), Zuzy Martin Lynch (Executive Producer and Co-Founder of Cooking for the Clueless), Lance Spellerberg (actor), Carrie McCully (host of Food Network’s Chef Hunter), Savannah Wise (Broadway star), Lisa Annitti (actress) and Lynne Curtin (star of Real Housewives of Orange County) to name a few.

Meanwhile, Back At Café DuMonde is a delightful romp through the memories and flavors of food lovers nationwide.  You’ll laugh a little and maybe even tear up a time or two but one thing is for sure, you’ll get hungry.  It is the perfect read to help pass the time while you’re waiting for the power to come back on after a tropical storm, too.

I’m not alone in my praise either.  Check out this list of endorsements:

  • “Good people, good food, good stories. This book is Louisiana!” -Jeffrey Marx, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Season of Life
  • “Tasty and amazing stories about our favorite subject, FOOD!” – Emeril & Alden Lagasse
  • “What a charming book of food stories and history! I’m inspired to get in the kitchen or at least head to Café du Monde for a cup of coffee and plate of beignets.” – Erin Z. Bass, Owner/Publisher Deep South Magazine
  • “…Page after page of so many wonderful experiences and recipes…I’m already salivating! “ – Doreen Fang, Chef/Host, Dining with Doreen and Resident Chef of the Vegas Morning Blend and Food Network Star finalist

Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde . . .: Life Stories about Food is published by Pelican Publishing Company and will be released on September 15, 2012 but you can pre-order now HERE.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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