Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

About 50 pages into the culinary memoir Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, near the end of the chapter about the famous shaved-ice-and-syrup dessert, tears may start to seep into your eyes. They won’t be the last. Such is the talent of Sara Roahen — she has you at “sno-balls.”

Roahen doesn’t set out to pull the heartstrings; she just wants to explain how a former vegetarian from Wisconsin moved to the Crescent City and became a dedicated disciple of crawfish, pork, and the duck-stuffed-in-a-chicken-stuffed-in-a-turkey wonder known as the turducken. Her adventures in gastronomy are entertaining, instructive, often hilarious, and absolutely hunger-inducing — but also (this being New Orleans) heartbreaking.

Three years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Gumbo Tales is one fitting tribute to a great, peculiar city.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?