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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Cajun and Creole Recipes from scenes in The Girl With the Pendant Pearl is a nonfiction regional cooking and food book written by James Pumpelly. The Girl With the Pendant Pearl is a romantic novel of suspense set in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The author wrote this cookbook in response to readers’ requests for the recipes described in his novel. Pumpelly begins his work with an historical look at Louisiana cuisine. He describes how the Creoles, who were French and settled the area in the 1700s, adapted their cuisine to the available foods and resources of their new land. The Acadians, or Cajuns, came south from Canada, with their own distinctive cooking styles. The two influences mingled and merged over the years, resulting in the distinctive flair of Louisiana cuisine. Pumpelly includes desserts and other dishes specifically mentioned in his novel, such as French bread pudding with warm bourbon sauce and Coffee-Steen’s-pecan coated bacon and Cajun crab cakes. Each recipe includes a complete listing of ingredients, detailed instructions and a full color photograph of the finished item. Pumpelly provides humorous interludes, entitled Cajun Humor, throughout his cookbook, as well as giving the historical background of various dishes, such as his piece on the Origin of Eggs Benedict.
I enjoy cooking and love Louisiana cuisine, so James Pumpelly had me instantly conjuring up fabulous, mouth-watering dishes in my imagination. While sometimes the reality is not quite as spectacular as what’s anticipated, Pumpelly’s range of rich and decadent dishes far exceeded what my paltry imagination had dreamed up. These recipes are incredible! The ingredients are all relatively easy to get, and most of the recipes require a moderate amount of ingredients and moderate time requirements for preparation. After loving the Crawfish in Cajun Cream that my favorite Cajun restaurant used to offer, I was thrilled to learn how to make Cajun Cream for myself. Just about every recipe in this collection is on my must-try list -- literally. Some, I’ll try soonest, such as the French bread pudding and Coffee-Steen’s-pecan coated bacon, but the decision on where to begin is not an easy one. While reading this book, I started planning a culinary adventure to New Orleans, but I’m not waiting until then to begin cooking and eating Louisiana cuisine. Cajun and Creole Recipes from scenes in The Girl With the Pendant Pearl is most highly recommended.