Bailey’s Andouille from Laplace, LA

Having lived and cooked in New Orleans, authentic Cajun cuisine is one of the things I’ve really missed since returning to California. A few places around here do a couple of things correctly, but there is an awful lot of bastardization going on as well. Sometimes, it’s easier just to tap the source, especially if the source will deliver. Why settle for less?

I placed my order for a few pounds of sausage from Bailey’s Andouille this afternoon. Bailey’s is one of two places in Laplace that is world-renowned for producing some of the best andouille in Louisiana. The other major contender, Jacob’s World Famous, sells its sausages just about 50 yards away, on the next block. Both places are great, but Bailey’s is the one that I have come to know the best.

Pableaux Johnson details both establishments in this piece from 2004, which originally ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

In south Louisiana, much of a cook’s repertoire depends on the quality of their sources. Just about anybody can make a pot of creamy red beans, but the outstanding versions incorporate spicy smoked sausages made by local butcher shops. Great gumbos rely on crabs pulled fresh from the Gulf of Mexico and shrimp caught by a boat-bound brother-in-law. The difference is noticeable and the proof is on the palate.

In their written form, Louisiana recipes recognize that Louisiana’s indigenous ingredients, tied as they are to local producers and edible artisans of the Bayou State, can be hard to find. Cooks trying to make jambalaya in Chicago, will read past the phrase “andouille sausage” and see that often they can substitute “Polish kielbasa, hot links, or other spicy sausage.” But once you get a taste of the good stuff — fresh-trapped deep water crawfish from the watery Atchafalaya Basin or tasty hot boudin stuffed with local rice — you’ll realize what all the fuss is about.

For the rest of Johnson’s story, please click here.

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