Chef cooks up recipes from vampire series
By STACEY PLAISANCE
“True Blood” fans can soon concoct their own blood-red beet bisque, crimson sweet tea and other Cajun delicacies inspired by the hit HBO vampire drama and compiled in a new cookbook.
“True Blood” is filmed partly in Louisiana and is set in the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The state’s cuisine is often referenced in the series, where vampires and mortals mingle over bowls of okra gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice.
The cookbook, “True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps,” was compiled by Cajun chef Marcelle Bienvenu and is being released Wednesday, shortly after Sunday’s broadcast of the show’s fifth-season finale.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I had never seen the show before they asked me to do this cookbook,” said Bienvenu, a chef from the Cajun town of St. Martinville, La., who lived in New Orleans for years and teaches culinary arts at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La.
“I sat down and watched it with my notebook, and I was amazed how much food was mentioned in the series,” she said. “It was fun making the recipes come to life. I think people are mystified by south Louisiana food. There’s still such a mystique about the food and culture here.”
“True Blood” stars real-life husband and wife actors Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer. Paquin plays the show’s beloved heroine Sookie Stackhouse, a mostly human waitress who falls for vampire Bill Compton, a Confederate veteran turned into a bloodsucker played by Moyer.
In the cookbook, recipes are accompanied with pictures and excerpts from the series. A recipe for creamy crawfish dip is displayed among pictures from a scene in which Stackhouse drives to Shreveport, La., to see a werewolf but is instead greeted at the door by Debbie Pelt, a character who has twice tried to kill her.
In the scene, Debbie offers Sookie a helping of crawfish dip.
Besides food, the cookbook includes nearly two-dozen drink recipes with names like Tequila Moonrise, Lovin’ in the Coven and Moonshine Rising.
“The drinks were a lot of fun to make,” said Bienvenu, who consulted a bartender friend from Thibodaux, La., to create the mixtures. She also used her students at Nicholls State University to test her food recipes, she said.
Bienvenu said “True Blood,” which is shown in some 50 countries worldwide, has been a great way to showcase Louisiana’s unique cuisine.