When Alex Patout opened the original Patout's restaurant in New Iberia, Louisiana, in 1979, he set out to show food lovers that there was more to Cajun than blackened redfish. Now the family operates busy restaurants in New Orleans and Los Angeles as well, and in Patout's Cajun Home Cooking, the first authentic guide to the most popular regional cuisine in the country, Patout takes his culinary mission another giant step further, divulging the dark, spicy secrets of Cajun food as it is prepared by the Cajuns themselves. Beginning with the basics -- roux from light to dark, techniques from smoking to smothering -- Patout initiates the home cook into a culinary style that has developed over the decades in bayou country kitchens. Dozens of exciting recipes introduce a savory repertoire of Cajun delicacies: appetizers both rustic and refined (Cheese Biscuits, Daube Glace, Cajun Pate); slow-simmered gumbos (Shrimp and Okra, Duck and Sausage, and more), soups, and stews (Red fish Courtbouillon, Shrimp and Crab Stew); hearty main dishes (from classic Jambalayas and Etouffees to such Patout specialties as Lady Fish, Shrimp Ms. Ann, Veal on the Teche, and Maw Maw's Cajun Chicken Stew); luscious side dishes (Maque Choux, Smothered Snap Beans, Cajun Hash Browns); homey and festive sweets (Old Dominion Pound Cake, Calas, Pralines, Gateau au Sirop); and preserves and pickles (Chow Chow, Hot Pepper Jelly) for the cook with canning fever. And Patout shows how to pull it all together, with menus for all occasions and a list of mail-order sources for fresh seafood and special ingredients. Adaptable, easy on the budget, and above all exciting, Patout's Cajun Home Cooking brings Cajun back to where it originated -- the home kitchen.