Rue is among the Hunger Games names most likely to catch on. Roux was launched more than a decade ago by a very different movie.
Thanks to Night for suggesting Roux as our Baby Name of the Day.
The first time I heard Roux as a given name was in 2000’s dreamy Chocolat, a movie adapted from a novel. A dreamy romance set in a fictional French village circa 1959, the story centers on a woman named Vianne and her young daughter Anouk. Vianne has come to the village from parts unknown to open a chocolate shop. It’s a wild success, but it also puts Vianne at odds with the village elders. As for Roux, well, he’s a gypsy and just as much of an outsider as Vianne. All ends well, with Roux and Vianne making a life together. In the movie, Vianne is played by Juliette Binoche, and Roux by Johnny Depp.
Depp’s dashing character put the name on the radar, but only just. After all, Roux was a nickname in the story, given in honor of the gypsy’s hair color. And the very look of the name is off-putting, inviting English-speakers to pronounce it rux, rhymes with trucks.
Even if we get it right, our thoughts are likely to turn not to chocolate desserts but to sauces. A roux is a mixture of flour and butter, a key ingredient for several sauces and part of preparing gravies and soups, too. It is a foundation of French cooking, but a similar process is found in other cuisines. If we don’t name our children Sauté, then Roux is also likely to seem like a non-starter, unless you’re naming a restaurant.
Except that right now there are two forces converging to lift Roux as a possibility:
- The roo sound, found in Rue and Ruth and Ruby, feels very current.
- Roux is, ultimately a color term from the Latin russus – a reddish brown; russet. With color names from Violet to Gray all the rage, any hue seems like a possibility, even an obscurity like Roux.
Six girls were given the name Roux in 2011, along with thirteen Rues. It isn’t a blip on the boys’ side, though names like Ruben and Rufus could make the sound appealing across gender lines.
And yet, Roux skews feminine, both because of the gussied-up appearance of the spelling (Margaux, anyone?) and a host of pop culture associations, from the Hunger Games heroine to the bitter evergreen to Golden Girl Rue McLanahan.
So file this one as a maybe – a quirky color name with culinary overtones that just might work anyway.