Spice of Life: Tourist bureau seeks recipes for virtual cookbook

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

Food lovers and those interested in the

latest kitchen and restaurant trends have an open door to knowledge

through the Internet.

There, thousands of recipes, culinary definitions, and cooking techniques can be found in written and video form.

Cuisine from Southwest Louisiana is quickly becoming a topic of interest for writers and travelers. Boudin, jambalaya, gumbo,

and old-fashioned pot cooking recipes are what they seek.

Angie Manning, communications director at the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau, has figured

out a way to use the Internet to spread the word about the delicacies that originate from area homes and eateries.

From her vantage point as a member of the travel and hospitality industry, Manning has concluded that a virtual cookbook should

be put together.

“It is something that we’ve wanted to do for years, and right now is a good time because we’ve noticed an increase in the

number of visitors to the web site (bureau) looking for recipes,” she said.

And what types of recipes are needed?

Any and everything from salads to desserts.

Overall, Louisiana’s tourism industry is benefiting from interest generated by outsiders about our collective foodways which

include African-American, Cajun, Creole, Italian, Lebanese, German, Spanish, Irish, French and Jewish influences.

Southwest Louisiana is starting to get more attention from the world’s food scribes due to its rustic food offerings.

“There is a huge interest in the

culinary arts here. We are fortunate in Louisiana to have unique recipes

that have been simmering

in a pot for centuries. People from media to travelers are

fascinated,” Manning said.

Compiling a virtual cookbook is just one of the efforts that the bureau is spearheading as May approaches.

Locals are being asked to participate in choosing the Top 20 restaurants in the area leading up to National Tourism Week that

ends on May 12.

National Tourism Week has become one of the prime events for local restaurants to showcase their menu’s and kitchen skills.

According to Manning, the public can cast a vote for at least three restaurants.

She hopes locals get excited about the possibility of letting the world know what restaurants really matter along with sharing

the food they cook inside their homes.

“Our feeling is that the virtual cookbook will be a great resource for visitors that allows them to find information,” she

said. “The goal is to have recipes that are actually authentic local family treasures.”

Manning believes that the cookbook will be a success if locals participate.

To provide a recipe or vote for your favorite restaurant, visit www.visitlakecharles.org/yum.

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Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at ecormier@americanpress.com or 494-4090.