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Publishers WeeklyIn this dry but informative tour of 14 New Orleans classics, written by locals, readers will find familiar dishes like gumbo, red beans and rice and Oysters Rockefeller, but also surprising local staples such as Turtle Soup and Creole Cream Cheese. Unfortunately, too many writers miss the perfect opportunities to wax rhapsodic over a storied dish and its place in a rarified U.S. culture, struggling to round up everyone who ever had a hand in a given recipe. The result, too often, is a list-like recitation of names and dates. Michael Mizell-Nelson's story of the po-boy sandwich, for example, reads like a legal deposition, and Cynthia LeJeune Nobles's plodding, academic approach to gumbo is enough to make readers fall asleep in their soup bowls. In her defense, Nobles rewards readers with three winning gumbo recipes; those hungry for Oysters Rockefeller or a po-boy will have to find their own, as there's no recipes included for either. The city itself is also notably absent; somehow, the book manages to excise all the mystery and excitement from the capital of the Gothic South. While it should settle some arguments over who invented what, armchair tourists who'd like a taste of the city should check contributor Sara Roahen's far superior Gumbo Tales.
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