History - Perique Pepper Sauce


Madame Perique

Madame Perique is a woman shrouded in mystery.  It is believed she was born in West Feliciana Parish, in the township of St. Francisville, circa 1850.

It is thought that she traveled to New Orleans via steamboat in the early 1870’s, while in her early twenties.  There are no records of marriage, nor public records that she ever owned property.

She was fondly remembered as an elegant woman, and one of rather modest means.

An early oral account, recorded in an obscure, undated, printed pamphlet, which was purchased at a dusty, dark, used bookstore on Royal Street in the 1980’s, stated that Madame Perique’s primary interests were in herbal medicine and magical potions.

It is further stated that her love of cooking, spices, and peppers, were her primary passions of middle to later life.  One account stated that she was the private cook for a very wealthy New Orleans family, who resided near the Place D’ Arms, on St. Anne Street, near the corner of Rue Royale, where she resided in a small brick servant’s quarter in the rear of the courtyard.

In the archives of Orleans Parish there is no evidence of her ever having existed, as if she were only a shadow, or a spirit, that once meandered the landscape of the Vieux Carre and the numerous courtyards teeming with herbs, spices, and peppers.

There exists, in a private collection of historical documents, several recipes signed by a “Madame Perique” (dated 1877).  These recipes range from yellow fever remedies, general health tonics, digestives, and, of course, a number of pepper sauce recipes!