The Paris of Latin America – Midnight Menu +1 – It’s New Orleans
Paris, of course, is not in Latin America. Nor is it in North America. To Zella Palmer (aka Zella Palmer Cuadra) the blending of cultures, food, and music in New Orleans is unlike anywhere else in the US or in Europe and the simplest description that explains the blending is in culinary terms a gumbo and in cultural terms a Latin Paris.
Zella herself is something of an internationalist and a personal and cultural gumbo. Born and raised in Chicago but with roots in New Orleans that go back generations, Zella discovered a love for Latin America and Cuba in particular and then discovered that all her loves combined not in Havana as she originally thought, but in New Orleans.
In the 6 years that Zella has made New Orleans home she has taken the culture and academia by storm. She is the author of New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking, and Dillard University’s Director of the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture.
Who better to fill in the blanks about Zella’s colorful and exotic life but her mom.
Alice Palmer happens to be in town visiting her daughter this evening and, unprepared, finds herself Zella’s +1 on tonight’s show. However, after one sentence it’s obvious that mom doesn’t need any preparation. She’s, as Margo puts it, “The best plus one guest we’ve ever had” with a rich history of personal experience, love, politics, academia and passion for life.
In a very touching moment in this show, Alice reveals that this conversation is the first time in her life she’s seen Zella in work mode and she is obviously moved and impressed by her daughter. So are we. This is as inspiring, uplifting and fun as gumbo gets.