The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
“First you make a roux”…the basic beginning of most cajun cooking: chicken and seafood gumbos, sauce piquantes, redfish courtbouillons. The roux, a simple mixture of white flour and oil heated till darkened is essential. The oil and flour, under a steady heat, stirred slowly with constant loving attention, gradually blend and congeal. Patience and care are essential. Too much heat and the flour burns. Too little, it remains too white, too innocent and tasting only of flour, incapable of carrying the creative flavors that define each finished meal. Stirred too quickly, the roux flies out of the pot and burns the chef. That’s the meaning of the phrase, Cajun napalm. Then you add vegetables grown in the black earth of every Cajun garden, onions, bell peppers, perhaps celery. Often called the Cajun trinity. You stir till the sweetness of the greens infuse the roux. Then you add water and dissolve the roux, further transforming the ingredients as they progress on a journey forward to become a uniquely flavored masterpiece. Then you add the other ingredients. Old hens and roosters that take more time to tenderize. You might add special sausages, seafood, meats, wild game or the tomatoes if your palate wants to savor a sauce picquante or a courtbouillion. Whatever you choose. Then you season, serve and savor your creation.
-by Francois L. Meaux, Ph. D.Continue Reading
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