A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA: ‘Lagniappe Leftovers’ gives new life to yesterday’s supper

Published 11:21 am Thursday, October 13, 2022

The latest cookbook from “Makeover my Leftover” Chef Susanne Duplantis has a colorful connection to Vicksburg.

“Lagniappe Leftovers,” published by Pelican Publishing, features illustrations by Dr. Tom Quaid, the father of Vicksburg’s Ali Quaid Hopson. Quaid, who devoted much of his life to the medical field as a cardiologist, has found a second life in his art.

Initially starting out with caricatures, over the last 12 years he has studied and worked to master oil-painted portraits through his business, Heart 2 Art.

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“All of my remembered life, even back to age 3, I loved to draw, and I always considered myself an illustrator,” Quaid said. “I made a little money through the years that helped with my education. When my wife and I were getting ready to graduate from medical school at LSU in New Orleans, we needed to finance our trip to medical college in Richmond, Va. for our internship.

“So I drew my class, little cartoons of each of the 110 graduates. I had a friend print those, and we sold them for $10 apiece,” he added. “And when each of my children, one of whom is Ali Hopson, graduated high school, I did portraits of their class and gave them to the graduates. But I always wanted to focus on a more classical type of painting.”

For “Lagniappe Leftovers,” Quaid stretches his talents from caricature to still life with a boyish, cartoon-like gusto. He was first approached by Duplantis in 2021, and the pair formed a friendship over the course of illustrating the part cookbook, part memoir. Both live in Baton Rouge, La.

For Quaid, the opportunity to collaborate with an author is one that he relishes.

“She wanted the pictures to represent specific types of cooking and types of food from her childhood,” Quaid said. “This was a collaborative effort. She would come to the studio, and we’d discuss her concepts, and I would have a sketchbook with me and be sketching her ideas as they came up. The cover and the ‘Seafood Saturday Night’ chapter page were totally cartoonish, but the rest are fairly representational of her memories growing up.”

Duplantis has built a following around giving leftover food a new life and eliminating much of the food waste that plagues American society. In “Lagniappe Leftovers,” she shares nostalgic stories about her childhood in Louisiana surrounded by rich Cajun and Creole cuisine, and her MeMaw, who helped her learn her way around the kitchen in Algiers, La.

Readers of “Lagniappe Leftovers” can learn how to transform jambalaya into a crunchy salad or nachos, how to pickle leftover fried catfish and even how to turn the holiday cranberry sauce into a stout mojito.

The versatility of the food options and Duplantis’s commitment to reducing food waste is something Hopson, a registered dietitian, said she supports — and of course, it’s thrilling to see her father’s work in such a large-scale book.

“He’s really drawn as long as I can remember,” Hopson said. “He’s really enjoying and embracing this phase of his life. He can draw anything you ask him to do, and I’m so proud of the work he does.

“Lagniappe Leftovers” is available wherever books are sold and at makeovermyleftover.com. To view more of Quaid’s artwork, visit his Instagram page, @tpquaidstudio.