Moderator Sara Roahen, author of "Gumbo Tales: Finding my Place at the New Orleans Table" says she won't talk much since the Sicilians are much more interesting. Creole Italian is one name for the cuisine. By 1880,
Liz Williams, president of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Arthur Brocato, third generation of Angelo Brocato’s Ice Cream and Confectionary, which was fully rebuilt after Katrina, Sandra Scalise Juneau, who teaches baking traditions and Joseph Segretto, owner of 1179 Restaurant were the panelists. Segretto formerly managed Louis Prima.
How did they get here? Williams’ grandmother came from
Brocato is Sicilian on both sides. Grandfather’s family were blacksmiths, and he worked as a banana inspector. They opened a little grocery store on the corner of St. Philip and
Scalise Juneau is also a double Sicilian. Her paternal grandfather came to work in the cane fields, and this accounted for many Sicilians coming to
Segretto came from doing a Sardinian luncheon. The food is very similar to Sicilian food.
Many pastries, including our fig cookies (popular for the St. Joseph altar) and the reginale (queen’s cookies), came from nuns in the convents. Each panelist recounted various food memories and shunning of improper marriages. Talk of spadini, sitting on pasta pots as high chairs, and no roux in red gravy. No talk of sauce here. Segretto recommended "Pomp and Sustenance" by Mary Simeti Taylor.
Creole cooking legend Leah Chase noted she makes a light roux with tomatoes and tomato sauce, but uses tomato paste and wine when she wants it to be more like Italian gravy.
Scalise talked about the