Saturday 12 July 2008: Making Gumbo is No Joke

Bridget, my little Sheltie, has the charming habit of howling at passing sirens.  Sometimes Ready will join her with his lower-pitched, wobbly howl.  At 4:30 this morning, they lifted up their voices.  I couldn’t hear any siren, but in half a minute I heard something else:  a pack of coyotes on the move, yipping and howling in their rowdy way.  I like this sound, though I may feel differently once we have livestock to protect.


I couldn’t go back to sleep, and at 4:50 I got up and started preparing stock for gumbo.  Friend, making gumbo is no joke.  It is a serious undertaking, which requires simmering stock for several hours, boning chicken, dicing great quantities of vegetables, pressing about two heads of garlic, and making the delicate and all-important roux.  I think my roux should have been darker; I didn’t want to burn it and have to start over and so probably did not brown it long enough.  Still, the gumbo was good.  I’d planned to not serve it until tomorrow—Brian Tucker, whose recipe I followed, says it is always better the next day—but Greg ate three bowlfuls and I had half a bowl tonight.


I must say I admire Brian’s energy and industry in frequently making this dish to take to Shiais.  I was pretty tired by the time I got the gumbo stowed in the fridge, but it was a good quality of tired, the kind that comes from being engrossed for hours in a big project and then having something worthwhile to show for it in the end.  I think the recipe made about two gallons.


Apparently cats like gumbo, at least the cats around here.  Navo naughtily jumped onto the counter to lick the spoon, and Shirley, Sandy, and Kit, the main free-range cats, hung around the carport trying to nose their way in while Greg and I ate ours.  You would think the cayenne pepper would discourage them, but cayenne, also called capsicum, is a tonic herb which many animals seem to like.

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