A cocktail is more than a segue to dinner when it's a Sazerac, an anise-laced drink of rye whiskey and bitters indigenous to New Orleans. For Wisconsin native Sara Roahen, a Sazerac is also a fine accompaniment to raw oysters, a looking glass into the cocktail culture of her own family-and one more way to gain a foothold in her beloved adopted city. Roahen's stories of personal discovery introduce readers to New Orleans' well-known signatures-gumbo, po-boys, red beans and rice-and its lesser-known gems: the pho of its Vietnamese immigrants, the braciolone of its Sicilians, and the ya-ka-mein of its street culture. By eating and cooking her way through a place as unique and unexpected as its infamous turducken, Roahen finds a home. And then Katrina. With humor, poignancy, and hope, she conjures up a city that reveled in its food traditions before the storm-and in many ways has been saved by them since.
Sara Roahen's work has appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, and Food & Wine magazines. She and her husband moved back to New Orleans in 2008.