One of the mainstays of Cajun folk food is gumbo. It's easy to make, from whatever crawls, swims or flies across this earth. My forebears have been cooking it for a century or longer, and one of my favorite memories is of bringing my mother's mother a mess of squirrels, cleaned and ready for the pot. She'd make me a squirrel gumbo, dark and rich and filled with goodness.
Some make a gumbo with tomato products, some don't. I like my gumbo without the tomatoes, just the fowl or seafood, the vegetables and the roux, the darker the better. Some type of sausage always finds its way into my gumbo. Whether andouille, smoked sausage, or a polish kielbasa, it's all good in the mix.
Gumbo is good made fresh, as in a chicken gumbo that comes together on a Saturday afternoon, but another tradition is using leftover meat to make the stew and the leavings from the Thanksgiving turkey has provided the basis for many a pot of wonderful.
Today, PawPaw peeled all the meat off the bones of that Thanksgiving bird, added some sausage from a local butcher shop, made a roux, sauteed some onions and bell pepper, and I have a gumbo on the stove. We'll let the flavors blend for another couple of hours then make a pot of rice. I've filled the stock pot with culture and tradition and the grandkids will be back from the first Christmas parade of the season. Come supper time, we'll fill our bellies with gumbo.