Those words were ingrained in me as I grew up, watching my mom and my grandparents cook gumbo, red beans and rice, other Cajun deliciosities. It was simple: flour and oil of equal portions, on medium-high heat. Stir until golden brown, and it starts to get thick. Never step away from a roux. It’s your core – if you mess up the roux, if you burn it, you have to start over.
As I made a roux for a chicken and andouille gumbo this past Superbowl Sunday, I thought about how creating that classic family recipe could be a metaphor for life. Just an hour before, I had had a great conversation with one of my favorite people I’ve never met about all the complexities of finding your career path and making life-changing decisions. As we talked about the tough questions that many people face, not just at my age, but at his age and even older (mid-life crisis, anyone?), we both realized that it all comes down to a few core elements. He left me with the following things to ponder: