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The Treme Cookbook, With Anthony Bourdain Foreword

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Photos: Paula Forbes /

Here's a sneak peek of Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans, based on the HBO show of the same name and written by Lolis Eric Elie. Unlike other HBO cookbooks (cough, True Blood), this book goes out of its way to prove its culinary worth with recipes from New Orleans locals (Emeril Lagasse, Jacqueline Blanchard, Aaron Burgau, Susan Spicer, Alon Shaya, Donald Link) as well as chefs that appeared on the show (David Chang, Eric Ripert). Exactly like other HBO cookbooks (cough, True Blood), the book contains weird first-person narratives from the characters, especially chef Janette Desautel. And despite the textured pages (with things like stains) seemingly every cookbook gets these days, Treme rises above the standard fanboy/girl cookbook by being an actually useful text on Cajun and Creole cuisine.

Below, quotes from Anthony Bourdain's introduction and a preview of the cookbook. Treme comes out July 24 from Chronicle (buy on Amazon).

Look for a preface by series creator David Simon and an essay on "Cajun v. Creole (v. Alan Richman)." Treme writer Bourdain in the foreword talks about working with all the chefs for the series:

What unites the characters on the show Treme is [a] love for a place; an attitude, a culture, where delicious food and great music are birthrights... When I called up friends like Dave Chang, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, and Wylie Dufresne and asked if they'd care to appear as themselves, every one of them immediately said yes. These are busy guys for whom it usually takes six months to schedule a cup of coffee. Bourdain on Chang: "He has had to create, and re-create dishes for the show, and — more painfully, I believe — learn to act, as himself. Not know for being the most agreeable guy on the planet, he has done all these things enthusiastically and with aplomb."

Bourdain on shooting at Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin: "The scenes set in the kitchen at Le Bernardin were in fact shot there, using a great number of its actual staff. At least as significantly, Eric's trusted lieutenant and enforcer, the iron fist inside the velvet glove, Soa Davis, has been dispatched on numerous occasions to attend to the details of the 2006-era avid Bouley-eque food."

Bourdain on working with David Simon: "David Simon is, I have found, a complete slut when it comes to a good fact, I have serious suspicions about Simon's actual motivation for dragooning all these great chefs onto the show: I think he does it so he can eat in their restaurants."

· All Treme Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Cookbook Coverage on Eater [-E-]