Sunday, January 04, 2009

First You Make A Roux

That's the first line of many recipes in Louisiana. You ask, "Mama, how do you make gumbo?" She answers, "First you make a roux......."

If you're 7 years or older you don't have to ask, "What is roux, and how do you make it?" But you may ask, "What color, or how dark?" The answer to those questions vary from cafe au lait colored to peanut butter to dark chocolate. The color of the roux determines the color and taste of the gravy or sauce.

Upon the approach of my move back to New Orleans - I'm wondering what color or how dark I should make my "The Move Home" roux.

Should I make a blond roux, like I would for a cream sauce? That would do for small tasks like sipping sugary cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde, eating beignets and reading the Sunday paper. If I make it the shade of powder foundation my aunt Lorita wears it might work to get me pass continuing to pay the toll to cross the Crescent City Connection - 25 years after the promised pay off date. Perhaps peanut butter would prevent me from saying numerous curse words when it's no where near closing time and the girl at the drive through of my favorite Popeye's Chicken Restaurant tells me, "We ain't got no chicken!" Roux the color of Denzel Washington would work when I have to face the over-lay of gloom and depression painted onto my city. I'm sure I'll need a a dark chocolate color roux to stand up to all of the things that played into my decision to move away in the first place.

There's a darker roux -but you have to be really careful not to cross over to the burnt roux line. It takes a skilled roux maker to get a really dark roux just right. The dark roux can carry almost anything. I can make the darker roux - but I hope I don't have to.

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