For years I had passed this little storefront at 524 St.Louis St. on my way to the Napoleon House in the French Quarter. I’d actually popped in a few times to look at all the hot sauces and other Louisiana type goods sold in the front part of the shop. But take the cooking class? Hrmph. That’s for tourists.
Well, the date was set a week in advance and I was actually looking forward to showing up at 10 AM for their lunchtime cooking class. Julie and I took a seat at the table in the middle of the room and chatted up the other guests before the show began. There were people from all over, one couple was from Australia.
Anne Leonhard and her precocious 10 year old grandson Reese were the cooks of the day. Ms. Anne started with a brief but in depth history of New Orleans pertaining to the cultural influences that shaped our unique cuisine. (I took copious notes and will spell it all out in a later post.)
What’s always fascinating to me is just how rich the culture of New Orleans is especially for a city who’s only been around for 300 years as compared to places that are 500 to a 1000 years old. I’ve heard it said over and over that the Crescent City has so many layers to it that even the folks who were born and raised here are constantly discovering new things about it.
As Ms. Anne went on with her talk I found myself nodding my head and inwardly saying, “Hm, I didn’t know that, hm…wow…really…interesting…”
We cooked the tried and true staples of New Orleans food: gumbo, jambalaya, bread pudding (with a pina colada kick) and pralines. Yum. While Ms. Anne was very entertaining with her stories and asides Reese stole the show with his comments and just by being a nice cute kid. There was unlimited amounts of ice tea available in big pitchers on each table and later while we all partook in the yummy victuals free locally made Abita Amber beer and Abita root beer flowed unabated.
So now I have to add this cooking class to my list of things to do when someone visits New Orleans. Heck, it’s a great things for locals to do as well. So call ‘em up and make a reservation (504) 525-2665. Check out their site at www.nosoc.com. They even have facilities for private cooking classes as well.
And pop in and peruse their unique Louisiana goods, just that is worth a visit.