[ Image courtesy of The Livingston Parish News]

Louisiana Kids' Stuff and Cookery

13:30 May 18, 2020
By: Kim Ranjbar

"Be proud of where you come from!
Be thankful for what's on your plate.
The grass always seems greener
in another part of the state!"

-Chicory & Roux: The Creole Mouse and the Cajun Mouse

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[ Image courtesy of The Livingston Parish News]

Children's book and cookbook author Todd-Michael St. Pierre has made a career embracing who he is and where he comes from. Born in Jefferson Parish on a Monday when "his Mama was making red beans and rice," St. Pierre has a deep love for lyrical poetry and the cuisine of Southern Louisiana. He began writing at the age of 12 after hearing the song "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugar Hill Gang on the radio. " It was so well done, I thought, and it was catchy and it made me think, you know I'm going to start writing down my ideas," says St. Pierre. "I thought if those people on the radio can do it, I can too!"

His first children's picture book titled Somewhere: As Told By Garrett the Parrot was published in 1990, and though it's currently out of print due to a now-defunct publisher, St. Pierre still has a few copies lying around. Since then, his books just keep coming. He released a picture book about how the brown pelican was chosen to be the Louisiana state bird titled The Louisiana State Bird Beauty Pageant in 2001; A Woolly Mammoth on Amelia Street in 2003; Makin' Groceries: A New Orleans Tribute about a young boy helping his maw-maw at her Cajun & Creole Cafe during summer vacation was released in 2008 and so on. St. Pierre currently has a total of eight children's picture books in his repertoire with more on the way.

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In the midst of a burgeoning career writing children's books, St. Pierre wrote his first cookbook titled "Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, File Gumbo" which was published in 2000. His maternal grandmother had passed away and he chose to honor her memory the only way he knew how. "It haunted me," he confided. "I felt like I really needed to write down all of her recipes the way she did them and I needed to do something to celebrate and commemorate her." Like many Louisiana families, cooking was an important part of daily life, but St. Pierre's maternal grandmother, originally from Ascension Parish, imparted a great love for eating and cooking classic Cajun cuisine to her grandson. "From the time I was real little, she would let me stand on a stool and help her make beignets," says St. Pierre. "She would always say that she had twenty grand kids and I was the only one who was really interested in knowing how to prepare the heritage food." After his first taste, writing cookbooks became his newfound passion and a string of successful titles from A Streetcar Named Delicious and A Confederacy of Scrumptious to House of the Rising Bun and The Southern Po-Boy Cookbook came pouring from his fingertips.

Currently living in Baton Rouge with his partner of 22 years, St. Pierre has a full-time job contributing to educational textbooks used to teach English to students in India, Africa and China, but that doesn't stop him from his own creative writing. The Louisiana author recently released Thibodeaux Turtle & Boudreaux Bunny: The Tortoise & The Hare With a Louisiana Twist in October 2019 and we anxiously await the re-release of The Crawfish Family Band with a new illustrator and publisher (Tubby & Coo's in New Orleans). Visit LouisianaBoy.com for more information or to purchase his books!

**Featured image courtesy of The Livingston Parish News

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