Lori's Reviews > Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table

Gumbo Tales by Sara Roahen
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's review
Jun 12, 11

Read from August 01, 2010 to June 12, 2011

I love New Orleans. I love New Orleans food. So I wanted to love this book, but I didn't. In fact, I couldn't even finish it. I would start each chapter with enthusiasm and by the middle of the chapter I would find myself skimming, skipping pages and then just giving up and moving on to the next chapter with hopes that it would be somewhat more stimulating than the one I just finished.

If I had to pinpoint the problem, it would be that the author included much much too many minor details that were not relevant to or detracted from the story. For example, in the shaved ice chapter, she included memories of other shaved ices she has had in other states. Endlessly elucidating all the flavors that she's ever had in her whole life; which ones she likes the best; which ones her husband, cousin, sister, brother like; how heavenly it is to have shaved ice on a hot day, especially in Wisconsin...etc..

I remember a passage in that same chapter where she refers to an incident where her and her husband duck into a coffee shop on a rainy day somewhere in Texas or whatnot (I don't remember the actual state and I am not going to dig through the text to find out), but seriously folks, what does that have to do with New Orleans shaved ice?

The author should have focused only on the food, its origins and maybe one or two exceptional purveyors of those specialties in New Orleans.

The subject matter of the book is interesting, but it was executed poorly. It is worth reading if you don't mind multiple tangents, usually about the subject matter, but sometimes not. I just found it too distracting.
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