COOKING: In the latest Savor the South cookbook series, Gumbo, Dale Curry offers up 50 recipes for Louisiana food lovers. Curry is a monthly contributor to this magazine, the former food editor at The Times-Picayune and author of New Orleans Home Cooking. This simply designed volume is petite, but packed with every gumbo imaginable, a heavy dose of jambalayas and myriad soups and other New Orleans staples, including, of course, red beans and rice and shrimp and grits. History and tips abound, making this a fitting starter cookbook for novices and an easy reference book for those with considerable expertise.
AMERICANA: On Feb. 24, soulful songstress Kristin Diable is releasing her third album, Create Your Own Mythology. The Baton Rouge-native is based in New Orleans, where in January she shot the video for, “I’ll Make Time for You,” the first single off of the new album. Comparisons to another soulful Louisiana singer songwriter, Lucinda Williams, are inevitable, especially since Diable has opened for the legendary Lake Charles-born performer. A sprinkle of Motown flavor, sensual grooves and a forceful voice distinguish Diable’s music from Williams’ throaty refrains. Locals likely are familiar with Diable from her turn on the Jazz Fest stage and music scene staples, such as One Eyed Jacks.
FICTION: In his debut novel, The Holy Mark, released near the end of 2014, New Orleans-native Gregory Alexander draws upon his childhood in Louisiana and his Catholic and Italian heritage. Alexander tackles the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, family drama and religious and psychological themes masterfully, weaving together a compelling, vivid and mysterious narrative.
JAZZ: Seva Venet, Revisiting New Orleans String Bands: 1880-1949 is a must-have for any traditional New Orleans jazz lover’s music library. Venet is the leader of the Storyville Stringband and conducts educational workshops on traditional New Orleans jazz at venues such as Preservation Hall.
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