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Book Reviews

The Trout Point Lodge Cookbook: Creole Cuisine from New Orleans to Nova Scotia

by Daniel Abel, Charles Leary, and Vaughn Perret

This cookbook is based on recipes from the cooking school and restaurant at Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia. The authors’ goal is to use fresh, organic local ingredients while maintaining a connection with the Acadian roots of Louisiana cookery. Some of the recipes here are linked to Creole cuisine directly, as in Crawfish Bisque, Creole Stuffed Eggplants, Creole Red Beans and Rice, or Oysters Rockefeller. Others substitute local Nova Scotian ingredients for variations of New Orleans classics: Finnan Haddie Jambalaya, or Creole-Style Lobster Mushrooms Étouffée.

Even when the pull of the Mediterranean is too strong to resist and the authors abandon their Creole theme, they anchor their dishes in Nova Scotia, as in Smoked Salmon Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Soup of Salt Cod with Orange-Cured Olives, or Mushroom-Oyster-Artichoke Sauce with Penne.

This is not meant to be a research text to memorialize authentic Acadian cuisine, although there are recipes for Rappie Pie and traditional Creole seasoning mixes. The book does, however, elaborate imaginatively on these major themes, engaging the reader with interesting marriages of ingredients. Although this is clearly restaurant food, the recipes are directed to the home cook, with clear instructions and an understanding of how limited the help is in the home kitchen.

This is an ambitious book. Along with sections on appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and desserts, a small but informative bread chapter encourages the reader to develop a wild yeast starter for Whole Wheat Flax Baguettes. Another section on wild foods has recipes for Lime-Grilled Cattail Root and Yellow Water Lily Leaves Stuffed with Purple Rice. Most interesting possibly is the chapter on smoking seafood. While the instructions on building a smokehouse seem too simple, the recipes for Salmon Bacon and Smoked Scallops are almost irresistible.