Yesterday, I received the absotively beautiful Mosquito Supper Club cookbook by Melissa M. Martin , sent to me by my beautiful cousin Linda. For some time, I tried to make it to their restaurant in New Orleans, but damn those blasted obstacles. Then Covid hit, and well, who knows anything anymore? But Linda, who is from Tennessee, used to live in Louisiana and now resides in California, is all about cooking, especially these days when cooking from home is safer than dining out. She’s a damn fine cook too, by the way. And not only has she been cooking up a storm many of the book’s recipes, but she loved it and wanted to support Mosquito Supper Club so much that she ordered extra copies for her two adult children and lucky lucky me. Yay! It is chocked full of delicious, Louisiana-focused recipes, dreamy photos by Denny Culbert and treasured anecdotes, ingredient info and instructions. My grandmother, a Louisiana native who grew up working on her family farm, enjoying her family’s homemade meals and then cooked for her and her family for many years and then some, was also excited about the book’s recipes, many sounding very familiar. “Oh, Mama used to make that. Oh, I used to live near Bayou Lafourche. Oh, Daddy used to love to make that.” Nana no longer cooks but has instead passed the torch to her granddaughter. So it is now up to me to test out some of these recipes and conjure up Nana’s precious memories. If only Linda, her family and I lived closer and could mix up a table full of Louisiana goodies together. One day, perhaps.
Like the author and Nana, I also grew up in Louisiana and am no stranger to the state’s incredible seafood and soulful ingredients. Nor are any of us unaware of the state’s devastatingly disappearing coastline and the repercussions including its fading culture, traditions, industries, economies and lives. And here we are, awaiting yet another hurricane.
Opening this book and looking at all of its scrumptious and familiar flavors, I am whisked away to the days of Mawmaw’s strawberry pies and savory green beans with potatoes, Nana’s courtbouillon and smothered okra and my mama’s shrimp dip and crispy deep-fried oysters. I usually have one foot in Paris, Seattle or New York, but my Louisiana roots run deep. Even though I currently live in Louisiana, I tend to forget that sometimes. This book can only remind me of what I’ve forgotten and help teach me what I’ve failed to see.
I am sorry that I never made it to the restaurant in New Orleans, but I am anxious to test out these recipes, drool over the photos, read more of the book’s stories and share with Nana more of our fun childhood culinary memories. If you appreciate Louisiana cooking and would like to support the Mosquito Supper Club, then check out this book. There is no doubt that it would make an exquisite addition to your cookbook collection. I am so very happy to add it to mine. Thank you, Linda!
And no, it is not lost on me that it was my California cousin who sent me, a Louisianian, a Cajun-focused cookbook from a restaurant in Louisiana. It’s 2020, y’all. Bon appétit!