Sara Roa­hen’s taste of home

New Or­leans, Mardi Gras, Ca­jun cui­sine, oys­ters, cold beer and all kinds of gumbo is

The Guardian - Cook - - A Taste of Home -

en­joyed the happy, pro­to­typ­i­cal Amer­i­can child­hood of Nor­man Rock­well paint­ings: fam­ily din­ners, foot­ball week­ends, stock­ings hang­ing from the man­tel­piece. And yet, from the time I grad­u­ated from high school un­til my now-hus­band en­tered med­i­cal school in New Or­leans, Louisiana, 10 years later, I lived in two dif­fer­ent coun­tries and five

Is­tates. I loved dis­cov­er­ing new ways of life and never con­sid­ered stay­ing any­where per­ma­nently, and cer­tainly not re­turn­ing to the small Wis­con­sin town where I grew up.

New Or­leans was like noth­ing I had ever seen, heard or tasted be­fore. From our first days there, liv­ing on one side of a rented dou­ble-shot­gun house half a block from a ma­jor Mardi Gras pa­rade route, I felt like I had found the home I was meant to have all along but never knew to miss. We could walk to Casa­mento’s for raw oys­ters and cold beer, to Guy’s Po-Boys for fried cat­fish sand­wiches that we dressed with potato salad, and to Hansen’s Sno-Bliz for cups of shaved ice sug­ared with root beer syrup and sweet­ened con­densed milk.

While my hus­band stud­ied, trained, and ul­ti­mately worked long hours as a

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