By the book

Do your shelves groan under your cookbook collection? Make room for the brand-new In a Cajun Kitchen: Authentic Cajun Recipes and Stories from a Family Farm on the Bayou. In it, Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, who until recently lived in the Sacramento area, offers recipes from crawfish étouffée to Mrs. Bodin’s Very Very Old Fudge Cake. I asked her which cookbooks she pulls from her own shelves over and over.

1. Patout’s Cajun Home Cooking by Alex Patout and Cajun Cuisine, a compilation. “Both have authentic Cajun recipes that I use as a reference.”

2. CookWise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed by Shirley Corriher and How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. “I generally use these as reference—how I can get a cake to rise higher. How many minutes per pound do I poach a salmon?”

3. Mastering the Art of French Cooking. “That’s the book I used to really learn cooking, so it’s comfort cooking for me. Every once in a while I want to go back to quiche or boeuf bourguignon—back to the childhood of my culinary career.”