I had to give this one a unique title outside of my New Orleans series because it deserves it. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you The Kitchen Witch – cookbooks, music and art – and one of its owners, Debbie Lindsey.
On my first night in New Orleans, I was wandering around the French Quarter with friends when I saw a cute little store that sold cookbooks. Since we were looking for food and not books, I made a mental note to come back and explore the store during my visit. Fast forward a day and I conned Daphne into going with me (well not really conned considering she loves cookbooks as much as I do) back to the store on Toulouse Street. From the minute I walked in, I knew this was a place I was going to love. There were books everywhere! Piled on the floor, in book cases and strategically staged on tables throughout. Even better, there were several church and ladies club compilation books filled with down home recipes (let’s just say these recipes haven’t met a vat of lard they didn’t like). I love these books and have always wanted at least one for my collection. So you can’t blame me for getting two, can you?
Interspersed among the books were retro cooking appliances, utensils and ingredients (favorite: old set of baking items on a shelf).
There was a Kitchen Aid stand mixer that I swear was the first model they ever made. Even better was an old oven stuffed with books.
The best thing about the store, however, was Debbie herself. Although she was with other customers when we first came in, she came over not too soon afterwards and that’s when the true Kitchen Witch experience began. Debbie animatedly pointed out some of the cool little gems we hadn’t spotted ourselves (including an old copy of one of Julia Child’s first cookbooks) and regaled us with stories about New Orleans. She has such an inviting and open air that you feel like you’re catching up with an old friend in her quirky (and over furnished) apartment.
Before we left, Debbie told us the best story of all about Kitchen Witch’s most beloved (and sadly most recently passed) employee Bob. Bob had originally wanted to be a greeter at Wal-Mart…he loved the idea of wearing the blue vest and yellow happy face button. But Debbie talked Bob into coming to work for them and it was the best move she ever made. Not only was Bob the social hub of the store, he drummed up patrons on the street with his infectious personality. Debbie said everyone who met Bob fell in love with him and employees still ask her about him. So this post is dedicated to Bob and his huge heart. By the way, did I mention Bob was a cat? See, I’m not the only one who thinks my cat has a backstory all her own.
If you ever have the opportunity, do yourself a favor and stop into Kitchen Witch. Debbie and her partner Philipe LaMancusa (who owned the original Kitchen Witch in another location) have created a time machine back to when cooking didn’t require lemon zesters, melon ballers or spice grinders. Everything was done by hand and everything was done with love…just like at Kitchen Witch.