Recipes from Audubon’s Happy Land West Feliciana

The Woman’s Auxiliary of Grace Episcopal Church in St. Francisville, Louisiana created and printed “Recipes from Aububon’s Happy Land West Feliciana.” There is no indication of the date of publication or copyright included in the cookbook, at least not one that I can find. Several of the recipes are attributed to individuals, or the families the recipes came from. From a little bit of research on the names found in the cookbook, I guess that the cookbook was printed about 1950. 

St. Francisville is located in West Feliciana some 100 miles upriver from New Orleans, some 30 miles north of Baton Rouge, and 60 miles south of Natchez. James Audubon arrived in the plantation country of West Feliciana in June of 1821 to serve as a tutor for the daughter of the owner of Oakley Plantation. While at Oakley Plantation, Audubon finished 32 of the 435 images that are included in his famous “Birds of America”.  Mrs. Lois J. Lester, a member of the Woman’s Auxiliary, contributed a recipe for Caramel Pudding in the cookbook.  Mrs. Lester is known for her watercolor copies of John J. Audubon’s original images.  Plate 1 in “Birds of America” is titled “Wild Turkey”.  The image on the cover is a copy of John J. Audubon’s “Wild Turkey”; I am assuming the cover image was drawn by Mrs. Lester.  If you know otherwise, please let me know. 

The cookbook is a simple 21-page cookbook produced by the Woman’s Auxilary.  The first “recipe” is for Preserving a Husband – “Be careful of your select. Do not choose too young. When once selected give your entire thought to preparation for domestic use. Some insist on keeping them in a pickle; others are constantly getting them in hot water. This makes them sour, hard, and sometimes bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender, and good by garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses. Wrap them in a mantle of charity. Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic decoration and serve with peaches and cream. Thus prepared they will keep for years.”  

The cookbook then begins with “RECEIPTS – Of Cookery from the day books of the great-grand-mothers of West Feliciana Parish. Lucy Audubon herself may have used some of these”. 

    • Aunt Minerva’s Cheese Cakes
    • Old English Plum Pudding
    • Gingerbread
    • Old Cake Recipe & Sauce
    • Spoon Bread
    • Syllabub
    • Eggnog
    • Cafe Brulot
    • Fruit Cake
  • Soups and Gumbos
    • Oyster Stew
    • Crayfish Gumbo or Bisque
    • Shrimp Gumbo
    • Oyster Gumbo
    • Turtle Soup
    • Mock Turtle Soup
    • Louisiana Okra Gumbo
  • Fish and Meats
    • Courtboullion
    • Panned Oysters
    • Mrs. Lester’s Oyster Pie
    • Southern Crisp Fried Chicken
    • Chicken Spaghetti
    • Scrambled Oysters
    • Crayfish Fricassee
    • Shrimp Louisiana
    • Ham Loaf
    • Mustard Sauce
    • Hot Tamale Pie
    • Red Bunny
    • Pickled Beef Tongue
    • Jambalaya (Made with Leftovers)
  • Salads
    • Bleu Cheese Dressing
    • Farmer’s Salad Dressing
    • Tomato Aspic
  • Sweet Potatoes
    • Caramel Sweet Potatoes
    • Sweet Potatoes in Orange Cups
    • Sweet Potatoes with Pecans
    • Sweet Potatoe Pudding
    • Baked Sweet Potatoes
  • Bread
    • Corn Bread
    • Cheese Straws
    • Pancakes
    • Hush Puppies
    • Raisin Bread
  • Cakes and Cookies
    • Sponge Cake (All Yolks)
    • Devil Cake
    • Mocha Filling
    • Nut Cake
    • Jam Cake
    • Delicious Spice Cake
    • Caramel Icing
    • Pineapple Cake
    • Chinese Fruit Cake
    • Sand Tarts
    • Whiskey or Brandy Balls
    • Ice Box Cookies
    • Lemon Filling for Cake
    • Nut Snacks
    • Butter Cookies
    • Woodhill Farm Fruit Cookies
  • Puddings
    • Cocoanut Pudding
    • Lemon Pudding
    • Pineapple Ice Box Pudding
    • Caramel Pudding
    • Frozen Banana Sponge
    • Charlotte Russe
    • Chocolate Pudding
    • Butterscotch Sauce
  • Pies
    • Hot Water Pie Crust (Never Fail)
    • Eggnog Pie
    • Molasses Pie
    • Pecan Pie
    • Cheese Cake Pies
    • Butterscotch Pie
    • Lemon Pie Filling
    • Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
    • Mincemeat Custard Pie
  • Candy
    • Pralines
    • Date Loaf
    • Caramel Fudge
    • Kisses
    • Salted Pecans
    • Brown Cocoanut Candy
  • Pickles and Preserves
    • Bread and Butter Pickles
    • Chow-Chow
    • Pear Mince Meat
    • Watermelon Rind Pickle

Here are a few recipes from the cookbook, two from Mrs. Lester.

Caramel Pudding

A favorite recipe of Mrs. Lois J. Lester of Waverley.

Caramelize 2 cups of sugar. Add 1-quart milk and cook until lump is melted. Cool.

Beat six eggs and pour the sugar mixture into them and bake in moderate oven. 


Mrs. Lester’s Oyster Pie

Four dozen oysters
1 heaping kitchen spoon of oleo or butter
1 heaping tablespoon of flour
1 egg-size onion, chopped
1 cup of cream or pet milk
1 pint of milk
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Drain the oysters, drop into melted butter and cook a few minutes. Take oysters out and make a roux with butter by adding flour and onion. When boiling and smooth add oyster liquor, the parsley, and the cream. Line a deep pan with pastry, put the oysters, the roux, thin with milk and cover with pastry. Dot with a little butter and cook until pastry is brown. 


Tomato Aspic

Use 1 quart tomato juice and cook 20 minutes with 1 slice of onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 cloves, 1 stalk celery, and a little cayenne pepper.  If juice is acid, add a little sugar. Remove from fire and strain and add 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce. Add 2 tablespoons gelatine that has been soaded in 1/2 cup cold water. Pour into molds and chill.