Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Gumbo is a Louisiana staple, a savory stew of local meat, fish, or fowl, a good gumbo is Louisiana comfort food.  I've eaten gumbo in many locations, to include Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, and even had friends from Chicago make gumbo for my sampling. I've eaten gumbo made by Minnesotans. I've eaten gumbo in almost every town in Louisiana, and when I go to a new restaurant and view the menu, if there's gumbo available I'll ask for a cup as an appetizer.  I love gumbo in all its regional varieties.

The most common restaurant gumbo is chicken and sausage.  It's a staple, and it's easy to judge chicken and sausage gumbo.  I've eaten good gumbo and I've eaten bad gumbo but today I sampled a truly wretched concoction that was billed as gumbo.

A buddy of mine was stepping out for lunch and asked if he'd like me to pick up something.  As I'm tied to my duty post I appreciate the effort to keep me fed and when he told me that he was going to a local drug store that also has a lunch menu, I was intrigued.  He told me that gumbo was on the menu today I gave him some money and thanked him for his continuing efforts to keep me nourished.

I should have saved my money.  The roux was "green", not properly prepared, the chicken was full of gristle, that must have been the oldest rooster in the pen.  The sausage was cheap, they should have saved a few more pennies, and simply cut up hot dogs to add to the mix.  The rice was lumpy.  The seasoning was very poor, with little flavor and even less onions, bellpepper, or celery, all of which are described in Louisiana cooking as The Trinity (which should give some indication of their importance).  They were only notable because of their absence.

All in all, it was was the most horrific rendition of gumbo I've seen in many years, truly execrable, with no redeeming features except to serve as a benchmark of truly horrible Louisiana cooking.  The gumbo at the Missouri State Fair was better, and that's saying something.

The chef at that establishment should be pilloried.  That was the worst gumbo I've ever eaten.  So there.


Anonymous said...

How would one make a green Roux?

Pawpaw said...

Okay, Ben. Not green as in colored, but "green" as in it had no flavor or depth. A roux takes time to mature, and depending on the way you cook it, it might or might not have any depth, richness, or flavor.

Kind of like the difference between a green tomato or a vine-ripened one.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pawpaw; they probably used one of the off the shelf ones. Making a good Roux takes a little time and effort I know. I do a gumbo a few times a year not up to Cajun standards but not to bad.


David aka True Blue Sam said...

I'm suddenly proud of my tailgate beans and rice dishes.