Mixing It Up

Intriguing tales, cocktails and recipes both long forgotten and beloved

Literary Weeds

Seeds of love

The Weeds: A Novel

New Orleans writer Katy Simpson Smith takes readers on a journey across the ages in her latest novel, “The Weeds.” The book follows two women, one in 1854 Europe and the other in 2018 Mississippi, who are tasked with collecting and cataloging ancient plant species and, in the process, discover much more. One is a high-born thief, the other a graduate student, both connected across time through their love of plants and the resilience of some labeled weeds to survive despite a world of people and forces that try to hold them back. Fellow New Orleans writer Jami Attenberg calls the book, “an irresistible reading experience.” It’s a life lesson in love, betrayal, science and mystery. Hardcover, 320 pages, $27.00

Literary Vieuxcarre

Classic Cheers

The Vieux Carré

LSU Press continues its “Iconic New Orleans Cocktail” series with a drink that has recently started to make a comeback on the cocktail scene — the Vieux Carré. Veteran writer, reporter, editor and radio host John DeMers takes us back to 1930s New Orleans for the creation of this iconic libation. The Vieux Carré, later dubbed “the Cocktail that Spins,” was invented by Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar mixologist Walter Bergeron. DeMers explores Bergeron and his work, the cocktail’s list of ingredients and how they found their way into New Orleans cocktail culture, and the influence of other iconic drinks, such as the Sazerac, on its inception. Hardcover, 116 pages, $19.95

Literary Lafayettecookbook

Culinary History

Lafayette Cookbook

This re-release of a classic is more than just a community cookbook, it’s a glimpse at what life was like more than 100 years ago in south Louisiana. Recipes were mostly simple, appropriate for the home cook, handed down through generations, and used fresh ingredients available locally in season. The “Lafayette Cookbook” was originally published in 1922 and feature recipes gathered from women of the First United Methodist Church of Lafayette, as well as their neighbors and the community. The collection was originally gathered by Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now the University of Louisiana Lafayette) home economics teacher Ruth Ryan, who tested each recipe. Popular recipes of the day included some readers may not have heard of before, such as Normandy salad, as well as classics like oyster gumbo and bell pepper relish. Be sure to ask your mom and ‘em if they remember these time-tested dishes, and then invite them over for Sunday supper. Paperback, 80 pages, $20

Literary Wildbeautiful

A Heroine’s Journey

Wild, Beautiful and Free: A Novel

Born the daughter of an enslaved mother and a Louisiana plantation owner father, Jeanette Bébinn is sold into slavery by her birth father’s vindictive wife after his death. She escapes only to find herself alone, traveling from the South to the North, ending up at Fortitude Mansion, a haven for escaped enslaved people. She becomes a teacher and is navigating a new world on the verge of Civil War when she finds herself falling in love with white proprietor of the mansion. Jeanette must learn to stand strong, hold fast to herself and her beliefs and stay courageous. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “A dazzlingly dark and engaging tale full of heartbreak, treachery and surprise.” Hardcover, 335 pages, $28.99


Categories: Lifestyle