Gumbo Tales is an ode to New Orleans food and culture, written by a transplant experiencing it all for the first time. It explores gumbo, of course, as well as po-boys, red beans and rice, king cakes, and even turducken. As she eats and cooks her way through the classics of New Orleans, Roahen also finds her place in New Orleans’ widely diverse culture, as she makes her way through events from Mardi Gras parades to Hurricane Katrina itself.
My husband and I picked up this book during a recent trip to New Orleans, but I didn’t get around to reading it until well after our vacation was over. And whether or not you’ve been to New Orleans yourself, this book is sure to leave you in the same boat as it left me–longing to visit and see what you’re missing out on. Roahen’s descriptions of the food and the cooks who prepare it are entrancing. Her love for her new home is evident in her painstaking attempts to find and recreate the best of New Orleans, even if that means chasing crawdads around the kitchen or calling every butcher in town to find one who will stitch up a turducken monster.
Check it out if you’re interested in the culture and food of America’s European city. You won’t be disappointed (unless it’s over all the wonderful food you aren’t eating!).
Rating: Pretty Darn Good