Mary Tutwiler

Marcelle Bienvenu on NPR

by Mary Tutwiler

St. Martinville cookbook maven Marcelle Bienvenu has been busy this year. In addition to editing the Abita Brewery’s first ever cookbook, Abita Beer, Cooking Louisiana True, which just hit bookstores this month, she is co-editor of a new book issued by the Times-Picayune, Cooking up a Storm. Bienvenu is a long time contributor to the TP. Her column, "Cooking Creole," is famous for her colloquial style of talking about family recipes handed down from her mama and uncles, poking fun at her rakish husband Rock, and bringing the lively culture of Acadiana to the New Orleans readers, who generally don’t know a fig about Cajun culture.
After Hurricane Katrina hit, TP Food Editor Judy Walker was swamped with requests for old recipes from the paper that flooded residents had lost along with their cookbooks when their houses drowned. She created a column, "Exchange Alley," where readers wrote in and Walker responded with recipes from the paper’s archives. Ultimately, Walker and Bievenu compiled the best recipes into Cooking Up A Storm, available from the TP. Yesterday, National Public Radio interviewed Bienvenu on her role retrieving lost recipes. Naturally Bienvenu, a born story-teller, wound up talking about everything from cornbread to crawfish. You can listen to the interview here.