The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians

(High ISO Music, 2013)

Author's note: I do not recommend or guarantee all the different ingredients and cooking methods in this book. Each musician gives his or her own opinion. Please leave roadkill by the roadside. And be careful where you get your raccoons.

It's time to play with New Orleans musicians, as they invite you into their kitchens to share their stories and recipes. Based on the much-loved OffBeat magazine series with the same name, The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians will fill your ears and your belly, whether you choose breakfast with Mystikal, or lunch with Irma Thomas and her Macaroni and Cheese, or Creole Squash for supper at Big Al Carson's house with a side of Antoinette K-Doe's Cornbread.

With 44 first-person accounts from musicians and more than 200 photographs, this book digs into the deep connections between New Orleans music and food. Almost every musical genre in New Orleans is represented in these pages: jazz and brass, bounce and blues, Cajun and zydeco, singer-songwriter and Mardi Gras Indian music, hard rock and indie rock, hip-hop and rap, funk and pop, rhythm 'n' blues, electronica, and world music.

The Gravy includes an introduction by Dr. John, and his recipe for Fried Frog Legs.

"This is one of the most endearing books about New Orleans. With dazzling style, Elsa Hahne takes her readers into the homes and kitchens of New Orleans musicians to see another side of them. Their stories and favorite recipes come to life in a harmonious and ever-vibrant whole. This is a wonderful compilation of culinary and musical cultures, and a testimony to the habits of all those heroes whose rhythms make this city move."—Susan Tucker, Curator of Books and Records at Tulane University and founder of the New Orleans Culinary History Group

"Elsa Hahne has done it again! The Gravy is a perfect follow-up to her remarkable first cookbook, You Are Where You Eat, creating the perfect fusion of food and music the foundational elements of the culture of New Orleans. She establishes an extreme level of sympatico with the people she interviews, allowing them to tell their stories in their own voice."—Harold Sylvester, Actor, Writer, Producer

"The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians is Elsa Hahne's follow-up to her lovely, innovative 2008 book, You Are Where You Eat: Stories and Recipes from the Neighborhoods of New Orleans. Once again, with her photographs and stories straight from the mouths of her subjects, Hahne takes readers into hearts and kitchens. This book is a compilation of her popular cooking columns at OffBeat magazine, where she is art director and food editor. The 44 subjects are all over the musical/culinary map: John Boutté's Glorious Oyster Pie; Mardi Gras Sauce for Wings from 10th Ward Buck; the Okra Eggplant Stew with Oxtail offered by Ivory Coast percussionist Seguenon Kone. All the recipes are preceded by dialogue from the subject. Kone explains the culture of Ivory Coast families and food, how hard the women have to work to grow and make food, how they dry the tops of okra, then grind and sift them to make a gravy, Kone's favorite. The New Orleans voices are just as fascinating. Charmaine Neville explains why she's a chocoholic. Monk Boudreaux talks about how he wasn't interested in going outside when he was a child; he stayed inside and watched his grandmother and mother cook."—Judy Walker, Times-Picayune, January 22, 2013

"More and more, it seems that the New Orleanian's role is to remind Americans how to live, how to be human, and how to create from within, using just whatcha got in front of you. With the same ease that the Crescent City's finest musicians weave intoxicating tales with rhythm and melody, they apparently also chop and sizzle local foods until you have no idea what you're consuming; all you know is that you are enjoying it! Like being invited into their music studios, an invitation into their personal kitchens is a coveted honor. And THAT, friends, is The Gravy. What I love about The Gravy is that if you are a connoisseur of the kettle, you will come away from this book with one of the more comprehensive New Orleans music complications, and if you are a music guru, you will have two months of edible soul to experiment with as you attempt each recipe on the quest to discover just what New Orleans music tastes like. Admit it, you've wondered, at least once, what these extraordinary sound sorcerers put in their bodies to make all that magic come out their mouths, and hands, and feet. And the answer to that is in The Gravy."—@JMoneyRed, Humid Beings, January 31, 2013

The musicians and the recipes in the book are:

10th Ward Buck | Mardi Gras Sauce for Wings

Brint Anderson | Mother Kitty’s Curry Glazed Chicken

Theresa Andersson | Preserved Meyer Lemons

John Autin | Yankee Gumbo

Marcia Ball | Smothered Pork Chops

Sunpie Barnes | Blackened Shrimp

Monk Boudreaux | Baby Alligator Gravy

John Boutté | Glorious Oyster Pie

Big Al Carson | Creole Squash

Susan Cowsill | Paneed Chicken

Dancing Man 504 | Red Beans with Hot Sausage Balls

Debbie Davis | Baked Ziti

DJ Captain Charles | Oatmeal

Dr. John | Fried Frog Legs

David Doucet | Crab Stew

Johnette Downing | Sausage Mambo

Andrew Duhon | Grilled Chicken Tacos

Lars Edegran | Madras Chicken à la Lars

Helen Gillet | Belgian Fries

Michael Girardot | Corn Pudding

Leroy Jones | Smothered Okra, Maple Cream

Antoinette K-Doe | K-Doe Cornbread

Seguenon Kone | Okra Eggplant Stew with Oxtail

Martin Krusche | Vegetable Curry

Julia LaShae | Grandma Bula’s Mole

Miss Sophie Lee | Korean Egg Rolls

Ingrid Lucia | Lemon Garlic Pasta

Barbara Menendez | Crawfish Stew

Trixie Minx | Trixie-Tini, Blue Disco Lemonade

Mystikal | Mystikal’s Breakfast

Charmaine Neville | Chocolate Strawberry Short Cake

Rick Olivier | Creole String Beans

Renard Poché | Citrus Cocktail

Gia Prima | Pasta e Piselli (Pasta with Peas)

Eric and Ryan Rogers | Cajun Ribs

Wanda Rouzan | Bread Pudding

Greg Schatz | Grilled Mini-Pizza St. Claude

George Schmidt | BBQ Shrimp

Irma Thomas | Macaroni and Cheese

Johnny Vidacovich | Getting Ready Spaghetti

James Westfall | Smoked Brisket

June Yamagishi | Japanese Pork Chops

Sean Yseult | Reindeer Gumbo with Quail

192 pages, 9 x 9 inches, 213 color photographs, 45 recipes, index

If you want to purchase a book, please visit your local bookstore. You can also contact me if you want to get a book signed or personalized in some way. I accept cash, checks and credit cards. If you don't live in New Orleans, I can take a credit card over the phone. Just email me, using the contact form, and I'll get right back to you.

$29.95 plus tax (in Louisiana) and $5 flat-rate shipping (USPS media mail) per book within the continental US.


Buy The Gravy in a local NOLA store

Louisiana Music Factory

Garden District Book Shop

I.J. Reilly's

Kitchen Witch

Octavia Books

Ogden Museum of Southern Art


Samples from the book

Some photographs