Local writer Liz Scott Monaghan likes to remind us that there are still some liberals and Democrats on the Northshore, which she describes as the place "where people from New Orleans live when they want higher ground and lots of Republicans around them."
More important, however, she points out there are also people going hungry on the Northshore. Raising awareness about the problem and raising money to help address it are the goals behind Cookbook for the Hungry, which Monaghan co-edited along with Slidell resident Ann Porter.
The book was produced by the Northshore Democratic Women's Club, and its extended subtitle spells out the theme: "A wickedly delicious collection of recipes and cooking tips, spiced liberally with political wit, served up by Louisiana Democrats."
The idea for the book came together after a community forum on hunger in St. Tammany this year revealed that local food banks were regularly overwhelmed by demand. In response, the Democratic Women's Club assembled recipes from its members and others and set about writing a cookbook, pledging all profits from the finished product to help fund hunger relief efforts.
They tapped a pretty sharp wit for the task. Monaghan is author of the long-running Modine Gunch humor column in New Orleans Magazine and the author of several books under the Gunch pen name.
Cookbook for the Hungry includes good, straightforward home recipes from the reliable font of Louisiana kitchens (gumbo z'herbes, shrimp etouffee, pudding cake — all right, "Super Rich Get Richer Hot Fudge Pudding Cake"). There are even a few recipes from Sister Helen Prejean, who has won attention for her advocacy for ending the death penalty. (Monaghan edited Prejean's 2004 book The Death of Innocents.) Just beware that Prejean herself claims her macaroni and cheese recipe has the power to make anyone who eats it "immediately become a liberal."
Monaghan and Porter will sign books while they serve drinks as guest bartenders for media night at Molly's at the Market (1107 Decatur St., 525-5169; www.mollysatthemarket.net), the pub founded by Monaghan's late husband Jim.
"We're hoping to attract the drinking liberally crowd," she quips about that appearance.