Monday, June 15, 2009

A Tale of Two (or more) Gumbos

When I was a kid my parents knew a couple with whom they were good friends. They played cards together, drank together, and one memorable afternoon, cooked gumbo together. I don't know what the other ingredients were, but I remember these huge crab legs. And the result: fabulous! Exotic and delicious.

Families move; friends change. In our now upscale suburb we had an upscale family whose grandmother flew in from Minnesota, and made us gumbo.
My, what a a difference. I remember the box it came from, and a kind of brown sludge served over white rice.

A few years back a friend and I cooked for a parent party. She drew from her Louisiana background and the two of us cooked tall, steaming pots and pots of gumbo. Chicken and sausage in one pot, shrimp and crab in the other. Couples balanced wine glasses and paper bowls and plastic cutlery, and had a rollicking good time.

But since I am not from Louisiana, I really had no guiding recipe to fall back on. Until recently.

Gourmet magazine did a version of Edna Lewis's gumbo. In between shmoozing with Tennessee Williams and Marlon Brandon, and growing older, apparently this woman had a talent for cooking. I give you her recipe here. My only modifications have been to occasionally add sausage and chicken. In either case, we return to the roots of fabulous!


  1. I like it when gumbo is dark and brown, like the stuff that came out of a box. The gumbo in the Gourmet recipe looks pale and thin. Does it really look like the picture when you make it?

  2. Well of course my unworthy dining companions will have nothing to do with gumbo, but I adore it. So here's what I suggest: you cook it and invite me over. Yes?

  3. Margaret--it's a date!
    Susan--my gumbo looks a heck of a lot better than the photo in Gourmet--I don't know why they used it, it's got no soul!

  4. Ok. You've told the whole world know. I expect you to live up to this promise.