Home Sweet Home

Today I found myself missing my home. I miss my home.  Although I stay in the house that I was raised in, it is not the same house to me anymore.  Hurricane Katrina washed that away. I miss how the kitchen was still in that 1970’s era with the big spoons on the wall.  I miss the memories that seemed to greet me every single time I walked into a room.  I miss seeing the crayon marks that my kids and my nephews put on the wall.  I miss opening the cabinets and seeing pots that had a name (oh, that’s moms’ red bean pot; no, the gumbo pot is in the back.)  I miss feeling my mother’s spirit.  She died in her bed but, she never left that house. I could feel her everywhere.  I can’t feel her in this house.  Everything is new, even with the same layout it all feels so new, so different.  I know change is a good thing a lot of times (vote for change) but, I don’t like not being able to feel my history.  I didn’t have a bad childhood, for the most part, it was great.  Even with all of that damage, when I walked in I felt like I was home..finally. Ok, the first floor was totally destroyed and the second floor needed a lot of work but, there’s no place like home Toto.  With every worker  that walked out of my house carrying debris, out walked a memory, a story a piece of my family fabric.  My grandfathers chifferobe, my jr and sr prom dress, my MIL doll collection, my brothers’ comic book collection,  my mother’s everything. Just gone, sitting on the curb waiting for FEMA to pick up and dispose of.

These new walls and flooring feel cold to me, they have no memories.  I want my old house back, I want my old home back.  That damned Katrina took away so much more than people know.

The Secret is in the Roux

Since it is getting near winter (do we ever really get a winter here?) gumbo has really been on my mind lately.  I cant’ wait to put on a pot of gumbo filled with shrimp, andouille sausage, crabs, and ham(yummy.)

Most times when I visit the French Quarters which is often, I frequently encounter tourists who claim that even with a recipe, they can’t fix gumbo. I have decided to dedicate some time regarding the reason why the gumbo does not come out right (since it’s too  hot to fix some right now.) 

The secret to a good gumbo is the roux.  It is the foundation of the gumbo, you mess up the roux, the gumbo is ruined.  How to fix a good roux is very easy.  If you have a cookbook, just follow the directions regarding how much flour and oil to use for the roux( I like to substitute butter for the oil, it’s just tastes better to me.)

Once you have that in the pot,  the only thing you have to do to ensure a great roux is JUST STAND THERE AND CONTINUE TO STIR THAT POT!!!!   DO NOT MOVE TO WATCH TV, GO TO THE BATHROOM, CHECK ON FIDO OR ANYTHING ELSE!  STIR THAT POT CONSTANTLY THE ENTIRE TIME UNTIL THE ROUX IS THE COLOR YOU WANT IT TO BE.   That is all there is to making a good roux, babysitting it until it is done.  Constant stirring and mixing until it is the desired color( I like mine a dark color.)  Once you have your roux done, you can continue with your recipe and you should have you some really banging gumbo!

Because I have been getting hits from folks trying to fix a ruined roux, let me add this…you CANNOT fix a ruined roux.  If you notice that the roux did not come out right, throw it out and start over.  It’s just flour and oil anyway and the money is in the meat you purchase so, just throw it out and begin  again.  Remember..constant stirring and do not leave the pot…should take 20-30 minutes for a good roux.  For gumbo, you want a dark roux.

Things that make me smile

I love, love, love this marching band!! Ok, I am biased for personal reasons. This marching band was the first band to intergrate Mardi Gras back in the 60’s, they are locally and nationally renowned and really are great.  They have played for various Presidents, The Pope, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and many other historic events.  If anyone has ever gone to a Mardi Gras parade, especially the big ones such as Rex, Endymion, Bacchus and Zulu..trust me, you have seen this band.

I am who I am

What prompted me to begin blogging was a website that I would visit fairly often.  After reading various bloggers and blogging myself a time or two, I realized that some people really dislike others merely because of their genetic makeup. Here in Louisiana, we are proud of our heritage and make no excuses for who we are.  I am black and a creole,  so is my husband.  It has taken me a while to get comfortable in my skin but I have always loved my heritage.  My maternal grandmother was a Choctaw Indian, My great-grandfather arrived to Louisiana from France.  My question for today is, why do people get upset when others refused to deny parts of who they are?  Do you have to be just black, white, or asian and  deny your Indian grandparents,white parent, black parent or whatever the case may be?  I say no. What say you?