How did this cookbook get its name: "Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?"

    I have been asked countless times about how I came up with the name for this cookbook, so here goes… 
    It’s important in the South for people to make a connection when being introduced to strangers or newcomers. It’s long been a tradition, especially in south Louisiana, to find out, “Who are your people?” This is not only to make conversation, but also to find out about a new person’s background.
    Through this line of questioning, one will often find long-lost cousins or some kind of family connection.
    It should be noted also that when the Acadians were deported from Nova Scotia in the 1750s, families were separated, and when many made their way to French-Catholic south Louisiana, they sought to find relatives (close or distant) in their new homeland.
    Although it may seem rude to visitors and those unacquainted with the local customs, we Acadians are innately curious. So, you may very well be asked about your mother’s maiden name, what schools you attended, and what your father does for a living.
    With all of this in mind, you’ll understand why, in 1989, I was inspired by the dialogue in a play called The Band Inside Your Head. It was written by Raleigh Marcell Jr. of New Iberia, La., and produced by the University of Southwestern Louisiana’s Opera Theater.
    The story line in the play is that a young Acadian fellow left the area to find fame and fortune, and when he returned he did so with his bride-to-be. Naturally, the members of his family were anxious to know more about this young lady.
    Thus, there was a dialogue between the local women and the newcomer. They couldn’t help but ask about her family connections, her religion, and what she knew about cooking. So, of course, they needed to know:
    Who’s your mama?
    Are you Catholic?
    Can you make a roux?
    These words kept going round and round in my head for days, and I finally settled on them as the title for my book.
    And now you know.

– M.B.

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