​​​​​Nancy Rawles

"[A] thoughtful, lovingly written tale of one woman’s quiet determination to survive.” –Kirkus Reviews

"An African-American Like Water for Chocolate." –E. Lynn Harris


For forty years Camille Broussard has cooked for other people. As a young bride, she moved from Louisiana to Los Angeles and settled in the thriving community of Watts; but many of her hopes went up in the flames of the 1965 riots. Now it’s 1984–and she’s determined to cook for herself. She’ll pickle okra, sell meat pies, peddle pralines–whatever it takes to revive her scattered family, as well as her neighborhood, and herself. Her grandson Nicholas has just been released from prison and takes up residence in her backyard. Her sons want her to move away. But with support from her talented neighbor Lester Pep and her eager but hapless daughter Grace, she starts a restaurant in her house. By serving up the recipes of her childhood, she hopes to rekindle her family's crawfish dreams.

Seattle chef Jim Watkins created recipes for Crawfish Dreams. Before you leave, be sure to get a taste of Angeline Chenier's Dark Brown Pralines.

Relatives and friends of Nancy's grandmother, Mabel Darensbourg, crawfishing at University Lake Baton Rouge, 1924

Crawfish Dreams