Tony Chachere's Cajun Country Cookbook is the book that launched his famous Original Creole Seasoning as well as his company. It is a South Louisiana cookbook classic. Over 750,000 sold. 220 pages.
Excerpt from Tony Chacheres Cajun Country Cookbook:
When Tony Chachere first wrote Cajun Counry Cookbook back in 1972, he had no idea the tremendous impact it would have on the cuisine of South Louisiana.
Ton Chachere was known far and wide throughout South Louisiana as the Ole Master. His culinary abilities were influenced in several unique ways. He was first inspired by the cooking ability of his brother-in-laws father who taught him to make his first fish courtbouillon in his early 20s. As a drummer or traveling salesman for his wholesale drug business, he picked up ideas and tips from every little country restaurant he dined in along the Gulf Coast. Probably most influential was his decade of challenge throughout the 1950s as a member of a mens cooking fraternity in Opelousas called Cooks Unlimited. The group held gourmet suppers twice a month, with each member taking his turn as chef du jour. It was through this experience that the competitive Tony, always striving to outdo his cohorts, earned the nickname Ole Master. Throughout his life, he continued to hone his skills as chef appointee on hunting and fishing weekends.
With the skills he developed as a pharmacist, Tony Chachere knew well how to work with ingredients. For his Louisiana Drug Company, he formulated over 100 products back in the 1930s and 1940s, most famous of which were his elixir Mamou Cough Syrup and insect spray Bon Soir Bug. He used these skills in the formulation of an all-purpose seasoning blend, mostly for his own convenience. This would save him from having to lug around containers of all the spices he used most often when he went off for a camp cooking weekend. He called his formula Creole Seasoning.
Throughout the 1960s, Tony Chachere was busy with a successful career in insurance sales, but vowed to write a cookbook of his beloved cuisine when he retired, a desire which first ignited during his Cooks Unlimited days. Finally hanging up his hat on full-time insurance sales in 1970, he donned an apron and headed for his backyard kitchen, spoon in one hand and pencil in the other.
Two years later, Tony Chacheres Cajun Country Cookbook was published. It is interesting to note that this came about at a time when people in this area refrained from calling themselves Cajuns, as the term back then had the connotation backward or countrified, resulting from decades of pressure on French descendants to speak English and Americanize. Tony Chachere unknowingly made a bold statement about his culture, a whole decade before Cajun was a hot national phenomenon. But then, Tony had always marched to the beat of his own drum. Todays Cajuns now proclaim their heritage with a great deal of pride.
Super salesman Tony Chachere sold the first 10,000 copies of his cookbook in only one week. His tidy profit more than paid for his second printing. Included in the first edition was the recipe for making a two pound batch of his favorite seasoning blend, Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning. It was essential to include because it was used in recipes throughout the book, and because friends so often requested it from him. He touted that one recipe alone was worth the price of the book. Then, something amazing happened.
In no time at all, Tony had a strong demand for the seasoning from cookbook readers. Ever the entrepreneur, Tony met the needs of his new customers and began the manufacture of Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning. Cooks throughout South Louisiana prized it as the best blend of the very spices they used most often. It soon became a staple in every cooks kitchen cabinet, a real step-saver that could be used in any cooking because it was great on everything.
Special recipes in Cajun Country Cookbook have gained popularity in recent years. Tony first introduced the steaming method of cooking crawfish, shrimp or crabs to the crawfish-boiling populace of Acadiana. He also promoted the now popular deep fried turkey, injected by syringe with his own spicy solution. Writers have often quipped about the game recipes in the book, noting Tonys bold inclusion of ways to prepare nutria, raccoon, even coot and alligator. But the most popular recipes are his easy recipes for the all-time favorites Jambalaya, etouffee, dirty rice and gumbo. Their popularity let Tony to develop the now popular Tony Chacheres rice mixes that accompany Tony Chacheres Original Creole Seasoning on the aisles of supermarkets across the Deep South.
More than twenty-five years later over 800,000 copies later, as we continue to celebrate the Cajun Country Cookbook, we are thankful for the legacy of Tony Chachere. We beam with pride, as Tony did, over the hundreds of Tony fans who ship his cookbook and seasoning off to friends and family around the globe. We delight in their stories as they recall their first taste of something cooked with Tony Chacheres Original Creole Seasoning and how theyve been loyal fans ever since. And on behalf of Tony, we love receiving their fan mail and the recipes they share.
And if Tony was here, hed know just how to kick off this special cooking experience, the same way he always autographed a copy of his Cajun Country Cookbook . . . simply Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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