Texas Book Festival - Sara Roahen
Sara Roahen at the 2008 Texas Book Festival
, a Wisconsin native but a New Orleanian at heart, takes readers on a gastronomic journey through the culinary traditions of her
adopted city in her
descriptive, personal, and informative book Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table.
"Alas, no amount of eating or cooking earns a nonnative membership in that society of Louisianians who were born with roux in their genes and weaned on shellfish stocks and sticky bits of okra. ...
There is, thankfully, a silver lining to never belonging: devoid of an inbred gumbo bias, I'm open to appreciating the full spectrum of gumbos without the hindrance of a gold standard.
It's a great luxury in a town like this one," she
More than just describing the flavors of New Orleans cuisine, Roahen lovingly researches the history of the Crescent City's many signature dishes, including its innumerable gumbos and po-boys, as well as its lesser-known ethnic specialties like Vietnamese pho and Italian red gravy.
Giving readers a sense of the importance of food to the culture of a pre-Katrina New Orleans, Roahen
also illustrates the continued importance of food in piecing the city and its community back together after the levees broke.
Roahen was a restaurant critic for New Orleans' Gambit Weekly and her writing has appeared in Food & Wine, Gourmet, Tin House, Wine & Spirits, Best Food Writing 2003, and Food and Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast.