Perhaps the only child in Louisiana history to be born to a mother with absolutely no culinary skills at all, Jyl Benson began cooking in self-defense at the age of six. She is 13 years younger than her closest sibling so her parents were tired and paid little attention as she use the household kitchen as per personal laboratory, sometimes with disastrous outcomes. Her skills have improved greatly over the years and kitchen fires are a thing of the past.
She began her editorial career in 1990 with The Times Picayune and served as a regional reporter covering the southeastern United States for both The New York Times and Time magazine. She wrote "Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes & Family History from the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant" (Random House 2005), as well as several cultural, historical and architectural guides to New Orleans. She served as editor-in-chief of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine from 2009 to 2011 and founded Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine in 2012. Sheis a dining columnist for St. Charles Avenue, Acadiana Profile and Louisiana Life magazines, a frequent contributor to New Orleans Magazine, and the author of "Fun Funky, Fabulous: New Orleans Casual Restaurant Recipes" (2015, Pelican Publishing) and "Louisiana's Tables" (2017, Savory House Press).
All the rage in the 50s and 60s, like everything associated with the mid-century lifestyle that revolved around stylish home entertaining, the home bar, be it an ornate cabinet or an open cart to be wheeled about for easy imbibing, has made a comeback. Stashing your hooch and cocktail apparatus in a corner on the kitchen counter adds nothing to your home décor, but an interesting cabinet or beverage trolley will bring a sense of class and sophistication to cocktail hour.
[caption id="attachment_120529" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Contemporary bartender’s cocktail shaker of stainless steel with a black and grey speckled pattern. Recipes for five popular cocktails are printed on the interior glass cup. The Shop at the Historic New Orleans Collection, Historic New Orleans Collection, 520 Royal St., 504-523-4662, hnoc.org.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_120530" align="alignnone" width="1536"] Circa 1920s wooden home bar cabinet inlaid with bone and finished with brass fixtures. Sterling Provisions. Sterling Provision pop-up market, 917-309-0259, sterlingprov.com.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_120531" align="alignnone" width="672"] Lucite serving tray by Wearable Art. Little Miss Muffin, 766 Harrison Ave., 504-482-8200, shoplittlemissmuffin.com[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_120532" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Stunning Martini set with pitcher in the Pisa design. Made by Culver Ltd., New York 1960s. Vintage 329, 329 Royal St., 504-525-2262, vintage329.com.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_120533" align="alignnone" width="1050"] Set of six hemstitched cocktail napkins by Louisiana artist Hunt Slonem. Hazelnut, 5525 Magazine St., 504-891-2424, hazelnutneworleans.com[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_120534" align="alignnone" width="700"] Etched stainless steel ice bucket featuring a wrought iron fence design by Kate Lacour. The design was inspired by rye, corn and sugar cane. The Sazerac House, 101 Magazine St., 504-910-0100, sazerachouse.com[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_120535" align="alignnone" width="592"] Channel Greta Garbo as you execute your martinis from this beautifully restored 1930s French chrome and walnut bar cart. Chairish, chairish.com.[/caption]