Geez, it’s been a long time since I posted anything!
As I promised back at the beginning of the year, there are big changes coming to The Filthy Kitchen Blog. I’m still going to be posting my recipes and tasty treats, but I’m also going to start adding more food for thought.
The main reason I haven’t been writing here is that I’m in my last year of college (finally!) and working on my senior thesis. Food means so, so much to me. It’s a huge part of the communities I come from. I plan on going to culinary school after I graduate, but for now, I want to use the academic skills I’ve been learning to focus on where I come from and the food I love. I’m using my senior thesis to focus on the history of gumbo. In doing so, I hope to tell the story of countless black women who, through resilience and ingenuity, created Louisiana’s most well-loved dish. I’m calling it “Darkening the Roux:Black Women and the Rise of Gumbo.”
“Darken the Roux” is an exploration of the impact of black women on Cajun and Creole foodways in America. By tracing the history of gumbo’s many components and incarnations, we are able to place black women firmly at the conception of Louisiana’s most iconic dish. I originally set out to write a history of Cajun foodways throughout southwestern Louisiana. In the course of my research, I noticed many very conspicuous gaps in information. While (predominantly white) authors writing about Louisiana’s culinary history are willing to pay lips service to the fact that blacks have had an influence on the creation of many Cajun and Creole dishes, they are reluctant to elaborate. For instance, we know that okra was brought to the United States from Africa as part of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, but food writers refuse to pinpoint gumbo itself as an African dish. While Louisiana gumbo is evidence of the myriad ways in which cultures have come together and interacted throughout history, its origins and its variations are African and black by nature. In researching black foodways of the American south, I found that nearly all texts exclude Louisiana’s cuisine and its history of black home cooks and chefs. “Darken the Roux” aims to fill in the gaps, and give voice to the black women who have been left out of Louisiana’s rich and colorful culinary story.
Each time I make some progress in writing it, you all will be the first to see it!
Thanks for sticking with me, folks. Here’s to culinary discovery!