marshes to mansionsWhile I’m cooking or doing chores, I like to have a little nonsense on in the background.  I watched half a season of Mad Men while making mole, I’ve been known to catch up on a week’s worth of The Daily Show while cleaning the kitchen, and you don’t even want to know how many episodes of Top Chef I have devoured during the cooking of these Junior League meals (all the while fantasizing about competing in a “home chef” season of the show, and even in my fantasies, getting sent home, like, third or something, after Tom Colicchio tells me he’s disappointed in my presentation).

But it wasn’t until last week, during an epic and overdue round of spring cleaning, that I truly succumbed to the trashy.  Not philandering ad executives-trashy, or Seth and Summer and Ryan and Marissa-trashy, or even Temptation Island-trashy.  I’m talking rural Louisiana, goth vampires, serial murders, exorcisms, and a local history organization called the Descendents of the Glorious Dead.

After six episodes of True Blood, the apartment was sparkling, and I was addicted to the V.

As the finale of the second season airs this Sunday, I thought this might be a good time to turn my culinary attentions towards the fair state of Louisiana.

jambalaya cookbookNow, the only reason I’ve put off a state with so many Junior Leagues for so long is simply because I couldn’t choose between them.  Of course, there’s River Road Recipes from Baton Rouge, which is probably more famous than any other Junior League cookbook with the possible exception of Charleston Receipts (the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print).  And rightfully so.  But then, there are the Junior Leagues of New Orleans, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Shreveport, all too good to leave out.

And so I decided not to.

This week, I’ll be cooking a meal with recipes from the following cookbooks:

Talk About Good IIThe Junior League of Lafayette
Marshes to Mansions: The Junior League of Lake Charles
A Cook’s Tour of Shreveport: The Junior League of Shreveport
Jambalaya: The Junior League of New Orleans

Will I be making a pecan pie with the pecans arranged in pretty concentric circles on top like Sookie’s Gram used to make?  You betcha.  And I plan to get up at 6 in the morning, (on my day off, no less), so I can get to the fish market and buy some oysters.

As for River Road Recipes, it will get its own menu sometime in the future.  After all, that’s the book that taught me how to bake biscuits.  And that’s a very special day in a Yankee girl’s life.

Now, I have to get back to my stories.  That vampire soap opera is not going to watch itself.

View recipes and photos from these Louisiana Junior Leagues (Fish Courtbouillon, Tomatoes Provencale, Mama’s Pecan Pie)