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Review: That Sounds Good!

Kandace Power Graves on a cookbook celebrating 30 years of WWOZ-FM



At first glance, titling a cookbook published by a radio station That Sounds Good! seems a clever way to tie in cuisine with music. It is a clever conjunction, but readers will quickly realize that it's more a quote of what you utter after reading almost every recipe. (Dr. John's favorite Racoon Stew elicited more of a hmmm.)

  A book commemorating New Orleans' revered community radio station, WWOZ-FM, is something many people would buy just to read the history of the station and support 'OZ's mission as "Guardian of the Groove" to provide local programming spotlighting a variety of New Orleans music. Adding the favorite recipes of people who were on WWOZ (performers and station volunteers) over the past the 32 years — it went on the air in 1980 — was lagniappe.

  Readers might expect to find the solidly good but common recipes found in other cookbooks that endeavor to present an overview of New Orleans cuisine. What they will find in That Sounds Good!, however, are recipes with a twist that can be prepared in a reasonable amount of time with common ingredients (with the exception of racoon). It illustrates that busy people who love food are inventive, especially when they have such wealth and variety of ingredients available.

  Most of the recipes are accompanied by photos of the musician/cook who submitted them, and some include a story about the recipe. There also are interesting old pictures and information about WWOZ, the early years, the volunteers who keep it running and the music to which it is dedicated.

  The all-star cast of cooks and their creations include musician John "Papa" Gros' Cajun brushetta, Kermit Ruffins' barbecue smoked turkey, Latin bandleader Fredy Omar's Honduran stew, songstress Irma Thomas' mac and cheese, Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee Vince Vance's grandmother's no-bake cookies (they're cooked by God, he says), the musical Masakowski family's Quick-and-Easy Chicken and more. The book includes recipes for standards like turtle soup, several versions of gumbo, pastas, alligator, oyster dressing and beans and rice.

  The best part is picking up the book as a novelty and having it become your go-to cookbook for quick and special dishes. Oh, and a shoutout to blues singer/pianist Marcia Ball for legitimizing the use of roux in a jar in her Emergency Chicken Gumbo. — Kandace Power Graves

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