The season of the Morel has been upon us. When my husband and I lived in Indiana, we too fell under the temporary spell of the mushroom hunt. Since their flavor is so prized, their source is a heavily guarded secret in many households. (When you move out of town, no one wants your wheelbarrow or your grill–just the location of your Morel patch). Sauteed in butter, they are indeed a culinary delight, and there is no denying the thrill of discovering one rising out of an innocuous pile of leaves, ivory and gold.
The pursuit and pleasure of food can be a universal joy for those of us who are fortunate enough to have access to it. The foods we cherish are unquestionably part of our legacy and in the age of processed food, we should be more careful than ever to preserve them. Right now, New Orleanians, and much of the Gulf Coast, including its precious wildlife population, is facing an unimaginable loss and the layers of destruction will run deep.
As a native New Englander, I grew up with a strong appreciation of seafood. Though we Mainers like our beans sweet with brown sugar, we are not so different from New Orleanians in our worship of the flavors of the sea. Perhaps it was this fundamental link that compelled me to write LITTLE GALE GUMBO–the notion of two distinctive cultures finding their common ground in the kitchen, or in this case, a cafe.
Food has always brought us together, made people into friends, others into lovers, mended hearts and mended fences.
At the end of the day, what great divide can’t be bridged with a pile of beignets drenched in powdered sugar?