I bought a piece of history yesterday when the Santa Rosa Woman’s Club liquidated the remaining copies of its Gulf Breeze, Florida cookbook. They’ve sold 2000 copies in the past ten years.
I didn’t know those sales figures when I snatched up the next-to-last copy. As of today it’s probably a collector’s item. Gulf Breeze was named a federal disaster area. With more than 200 homes still flooded from last week’s record rains, most of those 2000 copies are probably ruined, that is if they survived hurricanes Dennis and Ivan. I originally bought the cookbook as a back up gift just in case I forget a birthday, but after one look I’m not giving it away.
Recipes and Remembrances: 50 years of Food and History includes historic photos and
vignettes plus an account of Deadman’s Island. I want to read that story to my granddaughter to replace the scary one her dad and brother tell her every time we cross the Pensacola Bay Bridge.
Plus, this cookbook has better seafood recipes than any other cookbook I own, including Leon Soniat’s La Bouche Creole. It has recipes from famous area chefs like the Grits A YaYa recipe from Jim Shirley of the The Fish House and Snapper Marengo by Chef Gus Silivos. Homecooks contributed favorites like pecan encrusted grouper, smoked mullet and more than a dozen shrimp recipes. Most of all, the cookbook has four gumbo recipes.
There’s Bud Barrett’s East Bay Gumbo which blends sausage, ham and turkey with “fat” crabs and, of course, “bay” shrimp. Lucy Duncan’s Town Point Crab Gumbo is all crab, no other seafood. Marion Ginn’s File Seafood Gumbo recipe surprised me calling for Ro-Tel tomatoes to spice up the crab, ham, crawfish and shrimp. She also included a second recipe, her Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Gumbo which calls for leftover turkey, brown giblet gravy, liquefied Rotel and Cajun spices.
This book will find a proud place on my cookbook shelf with my other regional favorites — Christ Church’s Blessings from Tyler, Texas; the Baton Rouge Jr. League River Road Recipes; and the Delta Zeta Alumna LaFlamme from New Orleans.
My new cookbook is a treasure, but I’ll be glad to share it with anyone who lost theirs in the flood. Just post a comment and I’ll make you a copy.