Alzina Toups is a muse on Bayou Lafourche in Louisiana, where she cooks and shares the Cajun food she grew up with. This recipe is adapted from one of hers. Alzina’s mother was of Portuguese descent, and her father was from a line of Nova Scotia fur trappers. Alzina learned to hunt, trap, and prepare all the delicacies of South Louisiana. She was a trawler with her husband for years before she started cooking for small parties in her son’s machine shop. People from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Alzina’s to taste her version of Cajun food.
According to Alzina, the story of these cookies began with oyster fishermen. They worked during the cold winter and could be on the water for weeks at a time. They brought cookies onto the boats in a pillowcase, to remind them of the warmth of the homes they would soon return to. These cookies are slightly sweet and puffy, like a cross between hardtack and a sugar cookie. —Melissa M. Martin