Roux Memories by Belinda Hulin has more than 250 authentic Cajun and Creole recipes and memories from a Louisiana native.
After my wife and I came back home from our first trip to New Orleans in December 2008, with the taste of the olive salad from a muffuletta still fresh on my lips along with the overwhelming memory of a real jambalaya, I rushed out to the nearest book store to us. It was a Border’s Books in Utica, Michigan. I b-lined it to the cookbook section and scoured the shelves. Naturally, being just outside of Detroit, there wasn’t a wide selection of books to choose from and in no time there was nothing new for me.
In 2010, it was announced that Border’s was going bankrupt and closing their stores. My heart sank once I saw the giant yellow banner announcing the ‘Store Closing’ hanging across my Border’s. It was devasting (though it did eventually become a Spirit Halloween for a couple of years – no shock there). On our last visit there, as we were about to leave, I looked back and noticed a cookbook. A new cookbook. It was set up on a shelve all alone as if it were waiting for me.
I didn’t need to flip through it to decide if I wanted, because, just looking at the cover, I knew that I had to have it. It was Roux Memories by Belinda Hulin.
Like I mentioned at the top, not only are there over 250 recipes, but there are some excellent stories from Hulin, who is a Louisiana native. She shares in her experience of growing up in the kitchen and calls this book her “Cajun-Creole love story with recipes.“
As soon as we got home from that final trip to Border’s, I devoured the book. I learned so much about Cajun and Creole cooking from Hulin and this book and it is still, to this day, one of my favorite books.
Just look at the bookmarked pages:
The recipes are easy to read and easy to follow. You get a nice ingredient listing along with numbered, well put together, directions for making the recipe. But the best part, and one thing that really separates this cookbook from others, is the stories that go along with the recipes. I love that in a cookbook.
Hulin says at the beginning of the book, that the recipes brought back vivid memories from a well-loved and well-nurtured part of her brain and from a happier time in Louisiana, and she shares them along with some black-and-white photographs of her family. The one thing you won’t find in this book, are photos of the food, though helpful, especially when making something you’ve never made before, it’s never a deal-breaker with me.
Some of my favorite recipes are the Chicken Okra Gumbo (pg 12), the Barbecued Chicken (pg 64), Hickory and Spice Burgers (pg 79), Spicy Meatloaf (pg 130), Red Beans and Rice (153), and about a dozen or so more bookmarked pages. I could go on and on with this cookbook.
If you’re like me and didn’t grow up in a south Louisiana household, you’ll absolutely love this cookbook. You’ll enjoy the stories that Hulin shares with each recipe, and you’ll find plenty of recipes to make in this book since it’s not filled with exotic ingredients you will have a hard time finding. This is home cooking. Comfort type of food.
I do have a personal bias towards this book since it was one of the beginning cookbooks that helped me learn the steps of Creole and Cajun cooking and I still refer to it quite often. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Do you own Roux Memories by Belinda Hulin? Let me know what you think about it in the comment section below. I want to hear what some of your favorite recipes are.
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Keep the red beans cookin’!
Eric Olsson is the food blogger of RedBeansAndEric.com. He publishes new recipes and interviews weekly. He has developed recipes and written articles for the famous Camellia brand in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been mentioned in Louisiana Cookin‘ magazine and has had recipes featured in Taste of Home magazine – with his Creole Turkey recipe being runner up in their annual Thanksgiving recipe contest. He lives outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and four children.