New Orleans: Published by Dorothea Thompson, 1952.
[Mary Moore Bremer]. Octavo-size (21 x 14.5 cm.), [ii], 86, [iv] pages. Illustrated. Table of contents. Index. Title and author from cover. Date of publication from edition statement on preliminary page [ii]. Photoreproduced engravings depicting historic buildings throughout. ~ Stated fourteenth edition. A later entry in the sequence of editions of an admired cookbook, first published in Waveland, Mississippi in 1932 (under the author’s imprint), and at the same time a document of what was likely the last generation who typically spoke Louisiana Creole at home. With more than one hundred fifty recipes, including: Gumbo Z’Herbes, Raw Onion Soup, Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Pompano en Papilotte, Crab Flake Lorenzo, Creole Jambalaya, Shrimp with Remoulade Sauce, Creole Meat Loaf, Fried Corn Cake, Cucumber and Shallot (Sandwich), Red Beans à la Nouvelle Orleans, Breme (Eggplant) Souffle, Gumbo Gouter, Piments Doux Farcis (à la Mme. Bégué), Mirliton (i.e., chayote) Glace, Watermelon Rind Preserves, Artichoke Pickle, Pecan-Loaf Cake. ~ Mary Moore (Mrs. Laville) Bremer (d. 1943), a native of South Carolina, hailed from a prosperous family long resident in Richland County, South Carolina. Her father, James Nott Moore, had served as a surgeon in the South Carolina Infantry during the Civil War. Her four surviving siblings remained in Columbia, but the Bremers visited New Orleans with some frequency and determined to live there sometime before 1920. Laville Bremer (d. 1942), by inclination at least a local historian, published a well-known guide to New Orleans and it was evidently his interest in the history of the Gulf more broadly that precipitated the couple’s remove to Waveland shortly before the first appearance, in 1932, of New Orleans Creole Recipes, where he undertook to write his history of settlement in the region, including the nearby islands, Amichel: A Narrative History of the Gulf Coast (New Orleans: The Author, 1940). ~ As of this writing nothing exceptional has come to light that might explain the intense interest in the foodways and folklore of New Orleans on display in Mary Moore Bremer’s engaging prose. Her appreciation, at any rate, was keen. “Nothing in New Orleans is better known,” she advises in reference to Oyster Loaf (The Peace-maker, or La Mediatrice), “and it is a foolish husband who does not rely on it in case of need. In the old days when a man told his wife he was detained on business, the peace-maker was a good thing.” Elsewhere she proposes that the first step, when preparing to serve Oysters Rockefeller, is to “call on your favorite saints. In New Orleans, St. Joseph is supposed to be good in case of all trouble, and particularly helpful when one wants to get a husband. St. Anthony will help you to find things, and St. Rita is the patron saint of the impossible – a great favorite, you may be sure. I believe I would try to win the favor of all three because St. Anthony and St. Rita will help you to get the dish right, and the dish will help St. Joseph to get you right.” Preferences in local practice are savored: Cashaw, readers learn, “is by far the most delightful of the pumpkin family, and the way the Creoles like it best is to quarter it and cook it in the rind, after removing the seeds. Put in [the] oven and bake till it may be pierced with a fork. Serve it in the rind, with butter on top.” Three short instructions suffice for the entry Snap Dragon (An Old Christmas Custom): “Almost cover the bottom of a large platter with raisins. Pour brandy over and set fire to it. Raisins must be taken out of platter with bare fingers while brandy is burning.” ~ A detail relevant to the publisher may prove bibliographically useful: a New Orleans marriage record exists for a Dorothea Forshee (as the name appears in the 1944 edition recorded by Brown and Uhler) espoused to a Kenneth Thompson in 1946. ~ Red comb holding light brick-red card covers, lettered in black, with a stenciled color illustration of a woman wearing a tignon. Bookplate of a former owner pasted inside front cover panel; otherwise near fine. [OCLC locates two copies of the fourteenth edition (as well as exemplars representing other editions); Brown (1180) and Uhler ((40-41) acknowledge the tenth edition, 1944; New Orleans Culinary History Group, pages 18-19; not in Cagle].