Potatoes a la Diable

Pommes de Terre a la Diable

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Picayune's Creole Cook Book

By The Times Picayune Publishing Company

Published 1901

  • About


  • 2 Dozen New Potatoes, About the Size of Marbles
  • A Teaspoonful of Mustard
  • 2 Large Tablespoonfuls of Butter
  • A Dash of Cayenne
  • Salt to Taste


To appreciate this dish, one must first hear the funny old Creole story connected with its origin. Tradition relates that Jean Marie, who was one of “dose no-count Creole, what love one good game of card, one good story, and one good glass wine wid Jacques and Jules more better than work for make money for his famille, ” was one day told by his wife, Madame Jean Marie, to “take dat basket and go for dat French Market, and buy some of dose new Pommes de Terre.” It was a familiar saying in the old Quarter that Madame Jean Marie, who was the support of her large family, also wore the culottes, or trousers. There were constant squabbles between her and her good-for-nothing spouse, but she frequently managed to make him help her a little in the menage. On this particular day Monsieur Jean Marie resented her interference with his pleasure. Then, too, floating visions of his companions at his dear familiar haunts, jeering him as he passed with the market basket on his arm, and telling him “Parbleu, but Jean Marie, you would make one good woman, ya-as!” rose before his mental vision. He rebelled against his wife’s authority, and told her point blank that he would not go. Approaching him, with the market basket in her hand, his enraged wife shook her fist in his face, and told him if he “didn’t make quick for go to dat market and get dose Pommes de Terre, dat she would show him de next world before it bin come.” And she thrust the market basket in his hands. “Pommes de terre aux diable!” cried out Monsieur Jean Marie, flinging the basket on the ground. Madame Jean Marie eyed him for one moment. Then, going up to him, with a most determined air, she coolly picked up the basket and said in a tone of voice that he had learned to know too well: “Now, I is one patient woman, yas, mais I don’t let no man ‘aux diable’ at me. You hear dat hein. Now, if you don’t go for dat market, as I bin tell you, I gon’e make you eat one dish a la diable dat bin make you wish all your life long you bin walk more quick.” Jean Marie sullenly picked up the basket and went to market. But tradition also relates that he lingered so long that when he returned Madame Jean Marie swore that she would keep her promise. While cooking the Potatoes she poured a quantity of mustard into them, and, to still further “burn his tongue, and keep him from talk so long wid dose vieux camarades, Jacques and Jules, ” she added a good dash of Cayenne. “Now, ” she said, as she brought the dish to the table in her anger, I gon’e make you eat Pommes de Terre a la diable, for sure!” But her revenge was neither long nor sweet. The improvised dish that was intended for a punishment proved such a success that Jean Marie laughed heartily as he lolled back in his chair, and declared that he was going to “make three, four dollar quick for ax Jacques and Jules come to one grand dejeuner a la fourchette, and eat some Pommes de Terre a la diable with him.” And so the dish was christened, and the quaint name has remained to this very day. It is made as follows:

Take nice, fresh new Potatoes and boil them. When done, take off and let evaporate, being careful not to have cooked them too much. Take a deep frying pan, and heat the lard to the boiling point. When it begins to boil, drop in the Potatoes, and let them fry for about five minutes. Lift out with a skimmer, drain quickly, and put them into a saucepan with two tablespoonfuls of melted butter into which you have rubbed well a teaspoonful of prepared mustard. Add a dash of Cayenne and two teaspoonfuls of vinegar. Let cook for three or four minutes, shaking constantly, and take off. Add the yolks of two eggs, well beaten, and serve immediately.