Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Don's Secrets

You aren't going to find this cookbook on Amazon.com. Copyright is 1958. I've had my copy since about 1962. This cookbook is from Don's Seafood and Steak House in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is small, just 52 pages long. Don's was a family business that started in 1934 when Don Landry opened his doors to the public as Don's Barbecue Stand. It was a one-table affair in a screen and frame building. Later, it became Don's Beer Parlor, then Don's Seafood Inn. The business grew as family members kept joining the business and the food just kept getting better and better and the business expanded into other locations. In the 1980's some parts of it were sold and are now know as Landry's Seafood House and it is part of a large corporation, Landry's Restaurants. But the original cajun seafood business still exists in a number of locations in Louisiana and Texas.

It is a pretty tattered cookbook these days but I love it enough that I brought it with me to San Miguel. I don't follow it exactly either because some of the techniques and the fat levels in the book are outdated but for the essence of cajun cooking, yes, I do follow it. Also some of the amounts that it makes are restaurant size. For example the Remoulade Sauce starts off with 1 pint of tomato catsup and 1/2 pint of mayonnaise and 1/2 pint of olive oil. With all the other things that are added in, you are going to end up with almost a 1/2 gallon of remoulade sauce. A bit more than I can use. And everything says serve with steamed rice.

The reason I'm telling you about the cookbook is because we have feasted on the Chicken Sauce Piquante recipe for the last two nights. Tonight it was even better than the night I made it. Over the years I've adjusted the recipe and while it is basically the same, I like it with less liquid so that it is more of a thick stew rich with the holy trinity or onion, celery and green pepper. How could you possibly cook any cajun food without the holy trinity? As you can tell from the splattered looks of this page from the cookbook, my very favorite recipe of all in the cookbook is Baked Red Fish. At least it use to be my favorite when you could buy "real" red fish. Let me tell you, farm raised red fish isn't Gulf of Mexico Red Fish....no way. The recipe is red fish cooked in a cajun sauce similar to the one used on the chicken. You need a thick, flaky fish and I've used Chilean Sea Bass and that works well but the cost of Chilean Sea Bass in Houston has gone over the top. It was definitely out of my everyday budget. I haven't even seen it here in San Miguel although I'm sure there must be markets in Queretaro where I could buy it...probably for a price similar to the price in Houston.

Yes, we do love Mexican food but aren't we lucky that I can still tap into Don's Secrets.

9 comments:

Cynthia said...

Billie,

I can't believe my eyes. You'll never guess what I have? That's right, the same 1958 Don's Secrets purchased in Baton Rouge in the 70's.

Mine has a slightly different cover. In addition to what you see on your cover, it lists their restaurants in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Beaumont, Morgan City and New Orleans.

The price is at the bottom. It was $1.95.

Billie said...

Cynthia, mine cost $1.50. Isn't it a strange world....a small world.

Do you cook from it? What is your favorite?

pitchertaker said...

Boo-hoo....I can't see the second image bigger. Stupid Blogger software.....

P'taker

Billie said...

Pitchertaker, Isn't that crazy! I've tried and tried to figure out how to make them all where you can click on any of the subsequent images so that they will enlarge but I haven't found a solution. You aren't the only one to complain.....right Juan?

Becky said...

I am desperately trying to find a copy of this cookbook. If anyone knows where I may look, please let me know. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Amazon.com has 3 copies - about $80apiece. Look's like they might be the same thing. You'd have to want it a lot.

Bill O.

Anonymous said...

10/19/2009 Go to Amazon search Don Landry...4 for sale 10.99-11.99dollars...1958copy

Billie said...

Anon, I hope that some of the people who left comments and wanted one of these cookbooks see your comment. Thanks!

Celeste said...

I just found this post while looking for a pic of the Don's Secret's cookbook. The one I'm bringing to Mexico (Atlixco, outside of Puebla) has more writing on it, and says it's copyright 1958. I'm bringing it as a gift to the former Texas A & M roommate of my uncle. It's the real thing!