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Louisiana Eats: New Orleans Family Food Traditions

Fertel Book

There's a mouthful of memories in every family – especially if your family is in the food biz! On this week's show, we hear from New Orleanians whose parents and grandparents gave them a passion for food and a love for their community.

We begin with writer and philanthropist Randy Fertel, whose 2011 memoir, The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak, tells the story of his larger-than-life parents. His mother, Ruth U. Fertel, founded Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, now a worldwide establishment, right here in the Crescent City.

Then, we learn about New Orleans' famous muffuletta sandwich, which is said to have been invented at Central Grocery, the Italian deli established in the French Quarter in 1906. We bring you an oral history from NOLA Life Stories, in which third-generation owner Salvatore "Tommy" Tusa describes the evolution of this family business, as told to Mark Cave of the Historic New Orleans Collection.

And finally, we get the story of Barrow's Catfish, which has been a cornerstone of the Hollygrove neighborhood since 1943. Deirdre Barrow Johnson and her husband, Kenneth discuss their family's legacy – one that began with a fried catfish sandwich sold from Deirdre's grandfather's barroom door.

For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.