Slow food advocate, radio host and author Poppy Tooker recently released Louisiana Eats! The People, the Food, and Their Stories (Pelican), with photos by David G. Spielman. The book features recipes and interviews with chef Leah Chase, sausage-maker Vance Vaucresson, musicians, historians and others. Many of the essays highlight the ways food can play such a central role in local traditions, whether they're as common as Monday red beans and rice or Mildred Covert's approach to cooking kosher Creole and Cajun dishes. There are recipes for everything from Chase's gumbo z'herbes, to the Roman Candy man's vanilla pull taffy to Vaucresson's hot sausage balls to mirliton fries.
Tooker signs copies of Louisiana Eats! from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Historic New Orleans Collections (533 Royal St., 504-523-4662; www.hnoc.org).