If you love adventurous cooking and pure Americana, the new cook book, Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett (Lulu) is for you. Glorious to look through, filled with pictures of the Gulf Coast and mouth watering food stuffs, this book is a treat for the senses. You are not only taught how to master the tastes of this unique part of the world, you are given a recipe for creating a “bright life and happy kitchen.”
Lulu begins her class with dessert. We all want to start our meal with the sweet so the author begins her lessons that way. In fact, it was a de rigueur part of the day for the matriarch of the Buffett family. Indulge. That is what this type of cooking is all about. Indulge the better part of life. Go for the sweet path. Don’t let the negative ruin your day.
Then since hospitality is a huge southern tradition, we hop on over to appetizers and snacks. Always one to keep those homemade goodies on hand with a glass of sweet tea, Lulu is happy to welcome people into her home, and to an impromptu dinner part.
She then turns her attention to her famous gumbo, and a discussion of that all necessary
roux. What it is, and how to make the perfect base. She of course, doesn’t end our education on southern soups there. Lulu introduces us to some famous other starters like crab bisque and even French Onion Soup. She reminds us to “Stir the pot and stay the course.” Food is always a metaphor for every part of her life.
The main course recipes are as eclectic as the rest of the book. I made the “Chimilulu Hanger Steak (p.123).” It is her take on a chimichurri sauce, along with a teriyaki and red wine infused marinade poured over a properly prepared steak. This delicious light, fresh herb and lemon sauce over this normally heavy piece of meat makes a delightful center piece to any meal. I paired it with some roasted rosemary-garlic potatoes (p.183) and a happy libation (recipes found at the back of the book). Don’t worry there are also new looks at crab, shrimp, gulf coast fish, chicken, pork, and that all necessary crawfish recipes that will make your mouth water.
Since Gumbo Love is dedicated to an overall lifestyle Lulu concludes her lessons with light meals and salads (watermelon and feta salad p. 229), sandwiches, veggies, and just some every day sauces you should keep at the ready in your refrigerator. She also helps you with planning that Gulf Coast themed dinner party with sample menus broken down into cultural favorites: Key West, Old West Coast Florida, Sweet home Alabama, and of course NOLA (New Orleans, LA).
This cook book is a wonderful homage to the different cultures and peoples that inhabit the area we know as the Gulf Coast. Lucy Buffett introduces us all to the wonderful and gustative fulfilling combination of old fashioned good ole home cooking mixed with a vibrant look at life.
The book is available May 9.