Bay Books, Absinthe and the Mississippi Comeback Kids

THE DELTA QUEEN COOKBOOK (LSU Press, 2012)

THE DELTA QUEEN COOKBOOK (LSU Press, 2012)

Bay Books hosted a book signing for my Delta Queen Cookbook Saturday, April 13 during the town’s monthly “Second Saturday Art Walk” in Old Town, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The street band was soulful and the weather was perfect, which both made folks come out and, which, in turn, allowed me to sell a bunch of books.

THANK YOU, BAY ST. LOUIS!

I brought pralines and they disappeared quickly. But I really didn’t need candy as bait; many of the friendly bookstore patrons had ridden or worked on the Delta Queen, and one lady even told me she had been a model for one of the boat’s promo brochures.

While I autographed books, Howard visited a few Bay St. Louis pubs with his friends Tommy Elkins and Tony Vernace. A staunch gin drinker, Howard decided to broaden his alcohol horizons by trying an Absinthe Sazerac. He claims the concoction was tasty, but his digestive system hasn’t been the same since.

Bay St. Louis and the whole Mississippi Gulf Coast are making a heroic comeback from Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 devastation. The storm had inundated the building that houses Bay Books with four feet of water. But to look at the neat stacks of books and colorful toys they sell, you’d never know it.

 

Fun in Fairhope

Grilled Steak with Bernaise at Tyme Restaurant in Fairhope, Alabama

Grilled Steak with Bernaise at Thyme Restaurant in Fairhope, Alabama

Many, many thanks to the folks at Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama for hosting my April 13 book signing. I met quite a few Delta Queen steamboat fans and lots of enthusiastic home cooks (as well as a few Alabama football fans, but we won’t go into that). Almost ran out of books, so the day was a grand success.

Also a big thank you to Tina Wettermark for putting up with Howard and me for the night. You’re a great hostess, Tina, and we really enjoyed walking around and learning about your great city.

For those unfamiliar with Fairhope, the city was founded as a model community “free from all forms of private monopoly” and today is a thriving community for artists. Most folks think of it as the cute little town on the way to the Grand Hotel, but it’s really worth a trip on its own.

 

Fairhope, Bay St. Louis and Pralines

Pralines

Pralines

Anyone who makes candy knows that cool, dry days are best for firming things up. And today, the day I had to conjure up two batches of pralines, we’ve been drowning here in Baton Rouge, and we’re even under a tornado watch.

But the bad weather did not stop me. This Saturday, April 13 I’m having book signings in Fairhope, Alabama at Page & Palette, 32 South Section Street, 11:00 a.m., and that evening at Bay Books, 131 Main Street, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m. And anyone who’s ever attended one of my book signings knows that I always (well, almost always) bring pralines.

To cheat the weather gods, I used one tablespoon less milk in my recipe. And guess what, it worked! My sweet little morsels even turned out better than normal.

For the recipe go to THE DELTA QUEEN COOKBOOK, page 138. I’ll post it here soon as I learn how to get this blog to single-space.