Pick up a classic local cookbook for tailgating ideas this season

While recipe apps and cooking blogs have stolen our modern culinary hearts, soft-back community cookbooks still have a certain allure, especially in a place like Louisiana. Think of the enduring magic of the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s River Road Recipes series and its Lafayette counterpart, Talk About Good!, collections that are windows into our past dining preferences and cooking styles.

Another well-preserved relic is Louisiana Tiger Bait Recipes, published in 1976 by the LSU Alumni Federation. The recipe collection was the brainchild of New Orleanian Jay Jalenak, who served as Alumni Federation president from 1971-72, and his wife, Frances.

“My parents were always proud of that cookbook, not just because of its popularity, but because of what it meant to the LSU community,” says Jay Jalenak Jr., who lives in Baton Rouge.

The Tiger Bait cookbook committee received 1,500 recipe submissions from LSU alumni and friends, an unexpected volume that prompted organizers to ask the LSU School of Home Economics Alumni Association for help with testing. The hundreds of recipes that made it into the volume include slice-of-life dishes undoubtedly served at Tiger tailgates and cocktail parties, from seafood jambalaya, to the “great to have in the freezer for unexpected company,” Bourbon Slush. Jalenak says he and his wife Maia still cook from a dog-eared copy strewn with handwritten notes. He says the sausage cheese balls were a family favorite served for breakfast during early tailgates.  

The original comb-bound publication has been replaced by a durable hard-bound version, available through the LSU Alumni Association. lsualumni.org

Olive-Cheese Nuggets

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup flour

½ pound grated cheese

Salt to taste

¼ teaspoon paprika

Stuffed green olives, well drained


Mix all ingredients except olives. Roll a small amount of cheese mixture around each olive. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven and serve warm. Olive-cheese nuggets may be refrigerated and popped into the oven at party time. Hint: Size of olive used determines number of nuggets.

Recipe submitted to Louisiana Tiger Bait Recipes by Molly Vidos Kuntz of Charleston, S.C.

Note: 225 tested this recipe, adding no salt and finding it appropriately salted, thanks to the addition of cheese and olives. We thought ¼ teaspoon paprika was the right amount. Using small pimento-stuffed green olives, the recipe yielded almost three dozen nuggets.

This article was originally published in the September 2022 issue of 225 magazine.