Cookbook Keepers: Page 24

Cookbook purchases seldom travel. Two fates await a cookbook.
It reposes on a collector's shelf, or it becomes part of an estate and handed down to next-of-kin.

Cities with the best browsing in America for cookbook Keepers...

Lafayette, LA

Gary Alexander
Owner: Alexander Books

Gary and Barbara Alexander
Lafayette, Louisiana

Proving a point made by this website, Alexander says "most people who have a cookbook never give it away...they keep'em." He says his city, Lafayette, has a food culture just as impressive as New Orleans. It just lacks the puffery. "Down here the food culture is different...men do a lot of cooking...in fishing camps, hunting camps, especially in the Cajun camps," he notes. His store, while small,
invites informality. " We have a coffee pot if anyone wants to use it...there's a few chairs if you want to read."

Owner Gary Alexander's book store has cookbooks reflecting his locale. From his Cajun Section he has many favorites relating to Cajuns as natives of Louisiana originally descended from French Arcadian immigrants, thus Cajun cookery; thence to Creole cookery reflecting the full-flavored combination of the best of French, Spanish and African cuisines.

Alexander has a favorite cookbook, but it is not on his shelves. Why not? His wife Barbara keeps it at home.

Barbara Alexander's prized keeper:
Talk About Good
Publisher: Junior League of Lafayette
Ring binder: 450 pages, English
c 1967

The cover says it all for the region. Talk About Good is in the Tabasco Community Cookbook Hall of Fame. The book has sold more than 670,000 copies.

His favorite in stock, of course:
River Road Recipes
The Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine
by Junior League of Baton Rouge 1972 (*)
NOTE: This book is the 1972 reprinted edition of the 1959 version.
Number of pages: 270

Junior Leagues across the nation have long been serious cookbook publishers. The Baton Rouge, LA, chapter is one of the old timers when it comes to collecting favorite recipes from members. In this updated version contents are gumbos and soups, seafood, poultry, game, barbecue, preserves and relishes. Some of the editions offer this chapter: How Men Cook.

(*) This Junior League production has had 72 printings since noon yesterday. A book note reads: "For three years we have dreamed cookbook. We collected furiously, tested prodigiously, edited relentlessly, typed incessantly, proofread continuously and highly hoped...that our book would be enjoyed and used by you." The Baton Rouge Leaguers have produced the nation's No. 1 best-selling community cookbook series.


Where are the old and new cookbooks shelved today? Almost every major city today has an unsung indepentent book store attraction with cookbooks that can be touched, read, thumbed...purchased.

Since Cookbook Keepers are growing in numbers and interest, this column shortly will compile a list...where they are...with teasers as to shop owners, personalities, what they have on shelves... and if a tea and coffee service is available. Upcoming...

  • Santa Fe
  • Berkeley
  • Walnut Creek
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Portland, Maine
  • Boulder
  • Syracuse
  • Des Moines
  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Philadelphia
  • Princeton
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Charleston
  • Savannah (No Paula Deens)

Click Here for Keepers Page 25

doral chenoweth     cookbook-keepers.com     © 2011     designertothestars.com