Elsa Hahne is the art director and food editor of OffBeat, a New Orleans music magazine. She is also the author of You Are Where You Eat: Stories and Recipes from the Neighborhoods of New Orleans, which was supported by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.
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The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians
It’s time to play with New Orleans musicians as they invite you into their kitchens to share their stories and recipes. Based on the much-loved OffBeat magazine series with the same name, The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians will fill your ears and your belly whether you choose breakfast with Mystikal; lunch with Irma Thomas and her macaroni and cheese; or Creole squash for supper at Big Al Carson’s house with a side of Antoinette K-Doe’s cornbread.
With 44 first-person accounts from musicians and more than 200 photographs, this book digs into the deep connections between New Orleans music and food. Almost every musical genre in New Orleans is represented in these pages: jazz, brass, bounce, blues, Cajun, zydeco, singer-songwriter, Mardi Gras Indian music, hard rock, indie rock, hip-hop, rap, funk, pop, R&B, electronica and world music.
“This is one of the most endearing books about New Orleans. With dazzling style, Elsa Hahne takes her readers into the homes and kitchens of New Orleans musicians to see another side of them. Their stories and favorite recipes come to life in a harmonious and ever-vibrant whole. This is a wonderful compilation of culinary and musical cultures, and a testimony to the habits of all those heroes whose rhythms make this city move.” — Susan Tucker, curator of books and records at Tulane University and founder of the New Orleans Culinary History Group
“Elsa Hahne has done it again! The Gravy is a perfect follow-up to her remarkable first cookbook, You Are Where You Eat, creating the perfect fusion of food and music — the foundational elements of the culture of New Orleans. She establishes an extreme level of simpatico with the people she interviews, allowing them to tell their stories in their own voice.” — Harold Sylvester, actor, writer and producer
What is the most interesting thing readers can learn from your book The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians?
New Orleanians know that music and food are related—you rarely enjoy one without the other—but The Gravy takes readers behind the scenes and into the kitchens of well-known New Orleans musicians who share their creative process and their lives, bringing music and food closer than ever.
What motivated you to tell this story?
So many musicians in New Orleans cook, I wanted to document this. Also, I understand creativity as a cook, but I'm not a musician. This project gave me insight into how the creative processes are related, and how, for many musicians, cooking and music is almost the same thing.
What was the most enjoyable part of the process of writing this book?
Watching the musicians cook and tasting their wonderful food.
How do you think this story resonates with Louisiana (culture, readers, history, Louisianans, etc.)?
I think the story of New Orleans music and food is very much a Louisiana story. I think Louisiana people in general understand and can relate to the book based on personal experience.
What excites you about the festival?
This will be my second time, and I look forward to being bombarded with questions!
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