Practical Advice For My Son #4 ~ How To Make A Roux

I have told you before, you can put almost anything in a good cream sauce and look like a genius cook to a date. To make a good cream sauce, you need to make a roux. I’ll bet you didn’t know how it was spelled, despite almost four years of French class. And we have been over this a few times, but I really don’t expect you will remember, so I am putting it here. Of course if you would like to call home and ask your mom, you can always do that too.

You need to melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Then add two tablespoons of flour, preferably Wondra, which is extra fine and will help you not have a lot of lumps but any flour will do. Normally you would whisk this up but I don’t really expect you to have a whisk, so take a large fork, use it flat and stir in circles against the bottom of the frying pan. Hopefully this is not a nonstick pan or it won’t survive many tries at this. Let this cook, stirring pretty frequently, until the flour turns golden brown. Once it is nice and golden, add 1 cup of milk and stir (whisk) constantly. You can use half milk and half broth if you like, it will be less creamy/thick and a bit more liquid, like a different kind of sauce. You can double this recipe, just keep the proportions the same. Generally I put a few drops of worcestershire and a few drops of tabasco to give it a bit of flavor. Salt and pepper will do.

You will want to let it bubble gently and it will thicken. If its too thick, add broth or milk. Generally speaking, a few sauteed boneless, skinless chicken breasts, some egg noodles and you are in business. Or some precooked shrimp (you can buy a bag) and some nice rice pilaf (comes in a box) and you are in business. Add a bagged salad and a storebought desert and poof! fabulous dinner for two.

If by some chance you want to make comfort food, one of your favorites, just buy a rotisserie chicken and cut it up and put it in the cream sauce, make buttered toast and voila! creamed chicken on toast. Remember if you add frozen peas, they will melt and add water so make your sauce a little thick.

A good roux can go a long way, there are many things you can do with a cream sauce. You can even put it over pork chops, or whatever. Experiment with flavors; just remember to smell things before you put them in… if it doesn’t smell good, if it doesn’t smell like it would go together, don’t do it.

Just remember 2, 2 and 1. Two tablespoons, two tablespoons and one cup. Roux is just one of those things that is good to know in life. It’s an easy trick that will take you far; like most things it is simple once you know how.

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Boys’ Moms

They are almost grown, seventeen, and they feel that they are almost grown.  They think they know everything, they think the road is clear despite what they can’t see.  But they have thin skins, much more than they would want you to know. 

One of my son’s friends had a terrific fight with his mother and walked out.  It was a while before she realized that he had gone, his little sister told her he was gone; and had taken his homework.  My son and his friends are really good kids and generally there are only a few places any one of them would go.  So of course his mother called me.  My son wasn’t here and I didn’t know where hers was.

I called my son, who was on his way home and he arrived a short while later.  I could hear that someone else was with him and, of course, it was his friend.  He had walked all the way from his house to ours.  Quite a distance.  I told him one of us was going to call his mother because I would expect the same if I didn’t know where my son was.  I called her.   Her family are immigrants, her son first generation American, and her culture is quite rigid in its expectations of its sons in particular.  She didn’t understand why the argument was such a big deal.  Since I didn’t know what they argued about, I couldn’t really say.  But I convinced her to give him some space and let him stay here for the night. 

The concept that a son might be “sensitive” or have hurt feelings was quite alien to her.  But my son is pretty sensitive and I get the whole mood swing and hurt feelings thing.  I can’t always avoid hurting them but I understand that he has them.  My son’s friend explained to me that his parents don’t feel that he should have feelings or a point of view, they feel that everything about him is or should be circumscribed and defined by their experience.  He tries to explain to them how he feels, but he thinks they don’t care how he feels.

I don’t know the truth of the matter but I know boys have feelings and I know they are more sensitive than you might think, or than you want them to know.  They have mood swings, they have moods.  They think they know everything but lots of things still confuse them.  They want to be independent, but they want support.  Being a boy’s mom is a hard job, but one I wouldn’t trade.