We left New Orleans with a copy of John Kennedy Toole’s a Confederacy of Dunces in our digital back pocket. We were inspired to read the comedic, novel depicting Ignatius J. Reilly’s exploits because of Cynthia LeJeune Nobles’ cookbook of the same name. The Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook is a series of dishes inspired by 1960’s New Orleans and Ignatius’ favorite foods. The research that went into this book is incredible. I’m not sure which one I suggest you read first. Maybe read them both and cook simultaneously for a real immersive trip.
More Culture Stuff
Here at FT HQ, we’re used to chicken of the fried, roasted, baked, and, well, eaten variety. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk up the alternatives, like David Ezra Stein’s “Interrupting Chicken”, an illustrated story-within-a-story book geared towards the sleepy little chicks in your life. Let’s hope this funny, not-so-cautionary tale about a young chicken named “Chicken” who can’t stop interrupting his bedtime story succeeds in easing your clutch into quick and uninterrupted slumber instead of, well, the opposite. If, on the other hand, you’re reading this to your brood in Bushwick after a drink and draw, all bets on sleep are off. You know as well as we do you’ll finish the story at Roberta’s.
If there’s one book you load up on your kindle before landing in the Crescent City make it Eat Dat. It’s been a long, long time since we saw a food guide as comprehensive as this. It makes sure all the famous restaurants are included while rounding out the 250 spot hit list with places locals might haven’t even heard of. Things are changing quickly in New Orleans. Hopefully Michael Murphy will keep the book as updated as possible. For now, be sure to pick up a copy when you’re prepping your JazzFest bag.
An otherworldly drink is your future, at least if it comes from Tarot of Cocktails, a deck of 30 recipe cards that promise to add some spirit to your…spirits. Created thanks to funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, the cards have an ethereal, tarot-inspired layout featuring cocktails with names like “The Violet Twilight,” “Seer of Dreams,” and “Blood and Smoke” to make you feel like you’re communing with another world (the alcohol may help, too). The cards are mortal-friendly and aren’t meant for official divination purposes BUT we like picking a random card and letting the concoction in question predict the night ahead. We’re willing to bet that the buzz from Queen of Bees portends a better evening than The Withering Vine. But really, what do we know? It’s all in the cards, and what we see in the cards are some darn good drinks, whatever destiny awaits you.
We’re going to let the book jacket write this one for us because it’s succinctly so many things we live for. The Mad Feast is a richly illustrated culinary tour of the United States through fifty signature dishes, and a radical exploration of our gastronomic heritage. We’re kinda obsessed with dishes that define cities and states. Matthew Gavin Frank does just that and digs in the history of each to boot. If you follow the Drool List, you know we’re entering travel season. This one makes us want to dust off the luggable loo and mount up the truck for an epic cross country zig zag…again.