Louisiana Eats

If you're under 10 years old, the ingredients to an Easter meal are probably self-evident: chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and Peeps. If you're older, the usual suspects may (or may not) be less sweet, but they're likely no less traditional.

Poppy Tooker, host of New Orleans Public Radio's Louisiana Eats, is no stranger to dinner table traditions — even if her favorite was a year-round affair. When Tooker was a child, her great-grandmother was still cooking, and her go-to side dish was something that, at first glance, might sound pretty typical: peas.

Inna Astakhova / Shutterstock

    

Getting together with family and friends is something Louisianians do best and in springtime, the weather's just right for barbecues and crawfish boils. This week on Louisiana Eats! we're going around the state to investigate two primary foods that feed the masses this time of year.

Sam Irwin grew up in crawfish country, so his fascination with our state's freshwater crustacean seems natural. Sam's the first of many guests to discuss the crawfish, as well as Chris Jay and Scott Gold, who join the conversation with their own advice about the mudbug.

Then we'll turn to members of the Southern Foodways Alliance for some insights into barbecue. Chef Drew Robinson talks about running a barbecue joint with over 30 locations, and John T. Edge discusses the peace-making capabilities of a great smoked pig.  

Wikipedia/Maggie Black's The Medieval Cookbook

Among the many professions that require an ongoing sense of inquiry and creativity is a chef. On this week's Louisiana Eats! we'll hear about the illustrious career of Jacquy Pfeiffer,a pastry chef who's helped found The French Pastry School in Chicago and has also been the subject of a documentary by D.A. Pennebaker.

Then we're joined by the Nola Pie Guy, a graduate of The French Pastry School, to hear how his education prepared him for a life in pastry.

And finally we'll hear how Syrena Johnson keeps her ambitions in fine-dining afloat by mentoring with A-list chefs around New Orleans. 

Jessica Spengler / Flickr

Over the past twenty years, conversations about food have entered mainstream American culture. On this week's Louisiana Eats! we'll hear how food has grown in the newsrooms and classrooms of American society with food writer Brett Anderson and professor Elizabeth Engelhardt.

The morning of Mardi Gras calls for something a little hardier — and a little more indulgent — than your average bowl of Wheaties. After all, a long day lies ahead, thick with flying beads, outlandish parade floats and food in every form and function. When partying in New Orleans starts as early as dawn, a good breakfast is crucial.

And don't forget, Poppy Tooker adds: "This is the one city in America where breakfast drinking is totally socially acceptable." Why let such a splendid opportunity go to waste?

Brian Lin / Flickr

We're getting ready for da Mardi Gras! This week on Louisiana Eats! we'll hear about New Orleans' Mardi Gras traditions from Errol Laborde, and speak with experts from Lafayette about their food customs and celebrations. Plus, we visit Cake Café for a peek at how they make their famous King Cake. 

Thomas Walsh

Staying healthy is a challenge for us all, particularly in Louisiana, where food-obsession is a way of life. But being food-obsessed doesn't mean you have to have a penchant for heavy cream and butter. This week on Louisiana Eats! we'll speak from the owners of a new wellness boutique in New Orleans to hear about the foods and philosophies that guide their approach to living well. 

Joe Shriner

Good Eggs New Orleans is connecting farmers, value-added products, and consumers together in a single system. On this week's Louisiana Eats! we'll speak with leaders of the organization's local branch to hear how their work helps reduce farm waste and keeps money circulating locally.

We'll also turn to Chef Ryan Hughes for cooking tips about bottarga: a cured strip of roe sacks used for finishing salads, pastas and  pizzas.

Guy Mouledoux

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization declared that 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming. Over the course of the next year, Louisiana Eats! will periodically profile local family farms to find out how their family farms impact our community.  

Paul Goyette / Wikipedia

Every holiday has its own of traditions, and New Year's Day is no exception. On this week's Louisiana Eats! we'll hear about a bowl of hoppin' john made with the freshest ingredients, the superstitions behind black-eyed peas, and a roasted cabbage beyond your wildest dreams.

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