Winner, IACP Book of the Year Winner, IACP Best American Cookbook An NPR Best Book of the Year A Saveur, Washington Post, and Garden & Gun Best Cookbook of the Year A Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Eater, Epicurious, and The Splendid Table Best New Cookbook A Forbes Best New Cookbook for Travelers: Holiday Gift Guide 2021 Long-Listed for The Art of Eating Prize for Best Food Book of 2021
“Sometimes you find a restaurant cookbook that pulls you out of your cooking rut without frustrating you with miles long ingredient lists and tricky techniques. Mosquito Supper Club is one such book. . . . In a quarantine pinch, boxed broth, frozen shrimp, rice, beans, and spices will go far when cooking from this book.” —Epicurious, The 10 Restaurant Cookbooks to Buy Now
“Martin shares the history, traditions, and customs surrounding Cajun cuisine and offers a tantalizing slew of classic dishes.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
For anyone who loves Cajun food or is interested in American cooking or wants to discover a distinct and engaging new female voice—or just wants to make the very best duck gumbo, shrimp jambalaya, she-crab soup, crawfish étouffée, smothered chicken, fried okra, oyster bisque, and sweet potato pie—comes Mosquito Supper Club.
Named after her restaurant in New Orleans, chef Melissa M. Martin’s debut cookbook shares her inspired and reverent interpretations of the traditional Cajun recipes she grew up eating on the Louisiana bayou, with a generous helping of stories about her community and its cooking. Every hour, Louisiana loses a football field’s worth of land to the Gulf of Mexico. Too soon, Martin’s hometown of Chauvin will be gone, along with the way of life it sustained. Before it disappears, Martin wants to document and share the recipes, ingredients, and customs of the Cajun people.
Illustrated throughout with dazzling color photographs of food and place, the book is divided into chapters by ingredient—from shrimp and oysters to poultry, rice, and sugarcane. Each begins with an essay explaining the ingredient and its context, including traditions like putting up blackberries each February, shrimping every August, and the many ways to make an authentic Cajun gumbo. Martin is a gifted cook who brings a female perspective to a world we’ve only heard about from men. The stories she tells come straight from her own life, and yet in this age of climate change and erasure of local cultures, they feel universal, moving, and urgent.
About the Author
Melissa M. Martin grew up on the Louisiana coast and has lived in New Orleans for 20 years. After graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans, she worked as an adult literacy teacher until she evacuated to Northern California during Hurricane Katrina. While living there, she worked at some of the top Napa Valley vineyards and restaurants, and this is where she honed her self-taught culinary skills to a professional level. Martin returned to New Orleans three years later and opened Satsuma Café, a casual farm-to-table restaurant, and worked at Café Hope, a nonprofit restaurant, teaching at-risk youth to cook seasonal food. In 2014, she opened Mosquito Supper Club, where she serves family-style meals to small groups of guests who reserve a place at her table months in advance. Find her on Instagram @mosquitosupperclub.
“Mosquito Supper Club is more than a cookbook. It’s like a manual in how to be a Cajun. Step-by-step photos show how to make a roux, shuck an oyster or peel a crawfish. . . . In the book, Martin documents not just a kitchen, but a whole culture.” —USA Today Network
“A love letter to Cajun culture. . . . The heart of the book gives way to utter beauty. Denny Culbert’s sweeping photos of bayous and fertile farmland will make you ache to travel. . . . Though recipes like crab jambalaya and crawfish étouffée thrum with their specific sense of place, [Melissa Martin’s] smothered chicken and seasonal treats like blackberry dumplings translate so well they could be Californian.” —Los Angeles Times
“Each recipe and chapter is enfolded with stories, practical advice, and the lore of the bayous. . . . A book that will stand as a record for decades to come.” —Oxford American
“A celebration of contemporary New Orleans, a timeless glossary of Cajun cookery, and a careful, practical guide to gathering seasonal ingredients and preparing dishes from duck gumbo to pecan pie. . . . Since Martin’s restaurant is essentially a home kitchen, her recipes are easily adapted to the home cook.” —Eater, Best New Cookbooks: Spring 2020
“Mosquito Supper Club . . . is here to try to prevent the region’s Cajun cooking from slowly disappearing. Martin’s as much of a teacher as she is a cook; there’s barely a recipe in here that doesn’t have an extra paragraph of information on ingredient sourcing, prepping, and serving.” —Epicurious, The 55 Books We Want to Cook From Now
“Martin shares what makes Cajun cookery so special and why it’s worth preserving. Dive into dishes like shrimp jambalaya, she-crab soup, crawfish étouffée—and don’t miss the sweet potato pie for dessert.” —Forbes
“Rejoice in the photographer Denny Culbert’s evocative images and the chef Melissa M. Martin’s poetic storytelling. . . . [A] stunner of a cookbook.” —Garden & Gun
“Evocative essays and painterly photographs of shrimping by moonlight and sugarcane-harvesting bring deeper meaning to dishes like Pillowcase Cookies and the delicious one I tried for Smothered Shrimp and Eggplant. Ingredients are simple and techniques straightforward.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Recipes, including seven kinds of gumbo, tell an evocative story of the Cajun way of life.” —Houston Chronicle
“Martin shares the history, traditions, and customs surrounding Cajun cuisine and offers a tantalizing slew of classic dishes. . . . Writing in elegant prose, Martin is less concerned with the still-life plating of entrées than she is with painting the landscape of her upbringing.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An inspiring choice for readers and cooks interested in authentic Louisiana cooking beyond Bourbon Street.” —Library Journal
“Mosquito Supper Club is a lovingly rendered valentine to the sadly disappearing Cajun world. It’s a must-have work for anyone who cares deeply about the food of the United States.” —Jessica B. Harris, cookbook author, consultant, culinary historian
“With Mosquito Supper Club, Melissa Martin opens the door into the savory-scented kitchens of mothers, aunts, and sisters. She reveals a world that is rich and complicated, a way of life that is sustaining and unique—and she also mourns what we have already lost and stand to lose yet in this endangered region and culture. This book’s fantastic recipes will fill your belly with bounty, but its stories will thrill your heart while tugging at your soul.” —Ronni Lundy, author of Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes
“Home cooks will find equal joy in cooking and eating Melissa Martin’s unique recipes and in reading about her efforts to preserve and share her native culture.” —Nina Compton, chef and owner, Compère Lapin
“Melissa Martin’s ability to evoke a story, a history, and a sense of place through dishes like Velma Marie’s Oyster Soup is a true testament to her love of where she comes from. Mosquito Supper Club is a stunning tribute to the Cajun way of life.” —Kelly Fields, chef and author of The Good Book of Southern Baking
“While no one can teach you more about how to expertly eat crawfish or make perfect blackberry dumplings, it’s Melissa’s dedication to the traditions of her community that will affect you the most.” —Tara Jensen, baker and teacher, Smoke Signals Baking