Wild Abundance: Ritual, Revelry & Recipes of the South’s Finest Hunting Clubs

Editor: Susan Schadt

Photographer: Lisa Buser
Year Published: 2010
Publisher: Wild Abundance Publishing
Pages: 282
Price: $45
Available at Barnes and Noble, Books Along the Teche and the Tabasco Country Store
www.wildabundancepublishing.com
Playing bourré at the Zuschlags’ Grande View Lodge in Creole; Link and John Folse, who happened to be filming a segment for PBS at Grande View on the same day Link was there.

Imagine one book that the most avid outdoorsman, concerned conservationist, sophisticated artist, discriminating gourmand and even your granny could love in equal measure. Stumped? I was too, until I came across Wild Abundance: Ritual, Revelry & Recipes of the South’s Finest Hunting Clubs, which includes clubs throughout the Mississippi Flyway in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. A collaboration between Memphis-area nonprofits Conservation Through Art and ArtsMemphis first published in October 2010 and now in its second printing, the cookbook anthology pairs nine hunting camp cooks with nine celebrity chefs. Edited by ArtsMemphis President and CEO Susan Schadt, the 282-page book anthology contains 80 recipes, 250 photographs and looks just as good on a coffee table as it does on a
kitchen counter.

It may come as a surprise to some that a book about ritual, revelry and recipes would be published anywhere but Lafayette. Have no fear; South Louisiana gets its due in Wild Abundance. The book features the Bayou Club in Intracoastal City and Grande View Lodge in Cameron Parish. The celebrity chefs who serve as the book’s authors seem to thrive in the close-knit hunting camp setting. James Beard award winning chef John Besh picks up some teal hunting tips from Paul McIlhenny during his stay at the Bayou Club. Donald Link, also a James Beard winner and Louisiana native, plays bourré with the Zuschlags and writes that at Grande View it’s “as if he were in a room of [his] uncles.”  

The fun and games continue in the kitchen. The book features recipes from the hunting camp cooks as well as the professional chefs. At the Bayou Club, long time cook Sylvia Hebert Nolan’s traditional recipes for duck gumbo and potato salad are paired with Besh’s foie gras stuffed duck to create a spread that no true Cajun could resist. Over at Grande View, Blair Zuschlag’s recipe for sweet potato stuffed duck and Link’s duck confit could make even the staunchest vegetarian curious as to when teal season begins.

Lisa Buser’s food photography throughout Wild Abundance is literally mouth watering. There are certain pages that I would recommend you not look at while under the influence of hunger. Buser also captures the deep connection between the people of the Delta region and the land that they hunt. It is this connection that inspires a spirit of conservation so that future generations can fully enjoy our area’s “wild abundance” of food, family and good times.

— Annie Bares

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