Now, if you ask my mother, she’d say I hardly spent any time in the kitchen at all while I was a teenager, which is completely false because there was a phone in there attached to the wall by the fridge. I spent plenty of time in that spot, thank you very much.

She is right that I did flit in and out of the kitchen with the attention span of a gnat, much like my own daughters do today. But when I finally gave her a few minutes to teach me something, I remembered it forever.

One of the first and most invaluable things I learned to cook growing up was a good white sauce. Just a simple mixture of butter, flour and milk and you have a rich, velvety base you can turn into anything you wish. Over the years, I’ve made my own adjustments to this classic sauce and I often change it up to fit the dish or the course, from breakfast to dinner. I use this white sauce recipe for the crawfish recipe given here, and a thicker version for crabmeat au gratin and even a base for biscuits and creamy sawmill gravy.

My girls love this crawfish sauce over pasta. My oldest daughter is perfecting cooking it herself. A few more lessons and I can play outside while she cooks dinner for a change.

I’ve also served this over fried green tomatoes. Because I had just picked up some beautiful eggplants from the Red Stick Farmers Market on Saturday, I coated them in a cornmeal crust and fried them to go with our crawfish and white sauce this time. I hope you enjoy trying these recipes, making them your own and passing them down as well.