Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans Is a Fun and Approachable Cookbook From Restaurant

Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans
Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans Photo source: Ten Speed Press

Mason Hereford, the proprietor of restaurants Turkey and the Wolf and Molly’s Rise and Shine, is releasing his first cookbook with co-author JJ Goode. Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans will be released on June 22 through Ten Speed Press.

Hereford is a Virginia native who developed his passion for food as a child. One of four kids in the Hereford clan, he was obsessed with food and would run up and down the aisles of the local gas station grabbing anything he could get his hands on, from candy to Jimmy Dean sausage. 

“The gas station was down the street from where I lived, in the middle of nowhere in the country,” Hereford said. “Getting snacks there is one of my first food memories.”

After college, Hereford got a job in New Orleans at the bar Fat Harry’s and credits the spot with teaching him how to cook. From there, he opened two restaurants: Turkey and the Wolf, a lunch and cocktail spot at 739 Jackson Ave. in 2016, and Molly’s Rise and Shine, a breakfast and brunch spot at 2368 Magazine St., in 2018.

A cookbook seemed like Hereford’s logical next step, even if it did take encouragement from some friends.

“I had the restaurant for a few years and I had been coming up with some recipes with my friends,” he explained. “My brother William and JJ Goode confronted me and said ‘Hey, it’s time. You’re going to write a cookbook and we’re going to do it with you.’”

William Hereford, a photographer, took the photos for the cookbook.

Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans offers 95 recipes that are approachable to the everyday cook, even those who are just learning their way around the kitchen. What sets Hereford’s cookbook apart from others is the fact that many of the ingredients, such as Jimmy Dean sausage in the Grand Slam McMuffin and the Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce in The Bellair, are store-bought. He shies away from the idea of having to make everything from scratch for it to be good.

He explained, “There are different levels of difficulty in the recipes, but the idea was to make them approachable and accessible and ditch some of the steps that are more complicated. Not everything has to be made from scratch; there are easier ways to do things. If someone else is making a product that’s awesome- use it. If there’s joy in the process, do it, but if you’re trying to get from point a to point b, and you want to enjoy the food sooner, there’s some shortcuts you can use.”

The original release date for Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans was February 15, but the date was pushed back due to a container collapse on the MV Madrid Bridge, the cargo ship carrying the cookbooks. No one was hurt in the collapse, but the fate of the books was unknown for months.

“All we heard was that no one was hurt, and the fate of the books was unknown,” Hereford said. “They told us we had to change the shipping date because there was a good chance the books were either damaged or in the ocean. So, I took that information and we made some memes and had fun with it.”

Fans of Turkey and the Wolf and Molly’s Rise and Shine will delight in the recipes for such favorites as Fried Chicken Skins and Deviled Eggs, Not Yo Mama’s Peanut Butter-Bacon Burger, The Collard Melt, Molly’s Biscuits, and The Bologna, one of the sandwiches that put Turkey and the Wolf on the map.

As for one of Hereford’s “go tos” in the book: Cheez-Its and Peanuts on Ice Cream. Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. Hereford’s choice of ice cream is Blue Bell Cookies ‘n Cream, but any flavor will work.

“It’s one of my favorite things in the entire world,” he said. “I discovered it fifteen years ago, and it’s something I do, minimum, once a week. Sometimes cooking is as much about discovery as it is development.”

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