Wanted: Recipes From Readers for the Stuffed & Busted Cookbook

Three summers and a lifetime ago, I realized that I’d have to make a Stuffed & Busted cookbook. I need help finishing it.

by Chris Jay

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Sometime during the summer of 2021, I realized that I’d have to produce a Stuffed & Busted cookbook. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wanted it to look like one of the spiral-bound community cookbooks that I collect, write about, and sell on Etsy, and to be made up of recipes from folks who’ve been a part of the Stuffed & Busted community over the past few years—especially those of you who’ve read this blog and supported it on Patreon. It should feel like a church cookbook, complete with illustrated section dividers, approximately a bajillion recipes from named contributors from Shreveport and North Louisiana, and the occasional photo, menu, story, or note from a special contributor. I started calling the book Our Lady of the Stuffed and the Busted.
That Fall, I began working towards my masters degree, and by October I was completely consumed by schoolwork. I sat the cookbook aside for about a year and a half, during which time I wrote my masters thesis, Stuffed Shrimp as a Folk Tradition in Shreveport, Louisiana, and relocated from Shreveport to Natchitoches to Round Rock, Texas, where I live now. My thesis was recently accepted by The Graduate School at Northwestern State University, and I will receive my masters in Louisiana Folklife and Southern Culture this May. 

A display ad for Rhino Coffee

Though I live 300 miles from Shreveport, I really want to finish the cookbook. So far, I’ve received a total of 51 outstanding recipes and contributions from some incredible people. The book is divided into sections including Beverages, Desserts, Entrees, Snacks, and Miscellaneous, with beautiful artwork from celebrated illustrator Ruby Wang. The cocktail section is especially strong already, with recipes and prose from the likes of Chase Boytim, Kelly Ezell, Brandon Fail, Molly Hiers, Paul Loggins, Wallace Levy McKeel, Grant Nuckolls, Cory Shepherd, Judd Smith, Angie White, and Doug White. Elsewhere in the book are recipes for dishes like smoked tofu and greens over “cheese” grits by Chef Libby Patterson Smith, crawfish étouffée by Sarah Lowder, and Cecile Stapp’s buttermilk fudge by Danielle Richard. It’s shaping up to be pretty wonderful.

Pecan pie illustration by Ruby Wang.

If you’re reading this post, please consider submitting a recipe. You don’t have to be a “local celebrity” or arms-crossed-in-photos chef-type. I’m looking for North Louisiana recipes with stories behind them, recipes passed down from crotchety, perpetually tipsy maw-maws and paw-paws, recipes jotted down on index cards or secreted away in the back of a kitchen drawer. Most of all, I am looking for recipes that have a place in your heart and home. A cookbook, to me, is a portrait of a community at a specific moment in time. It’s a selfie.

There are several ways to submit your recipe(s). If the recipe is in an emailable form, send it to me at StuffedAndBusted@gmail.com or text (318) 272-1696 along with a few sentences about the recipe’s origins. Who passed down the recipe, and what were they like? If you found/adapted/created the recipe yourself, say a few words about who you enjoy cooking it for and what they love about it. If the recipe is connected to a special occasion, organization, or annual event, say so. Multiple submissions are welcome.

If the recipe is not in an emailable form, like if it’s written on an index card, just snap the best photos that you can of the complete recipe and text or email it to me. I’ll take it from there, and if I need more info, I’ll reach out. It’s that easy. Submitting a recipe gives me, Chris Jay, permission to print the recipe in a book that will be published for sale and/or to post the recipe online at StuffedAndBusted.com. I reserve the right to omit or include recipes solely at my own discretion and to add my own editorial introductions or comments.

Got questions? Drop me a line at StuffedAndBusted@gmail.com.

Cocktail by Ruby Wang.