Good Gumbos are Like Sunsets

July 28, 2019

Good Gumbos are Like Sunsets


Gumbo Series, Part 1

Gumbo is Serious Business

Gumbo is serious business to us here at Glover Gardens. We probably have gumbo about once a month, and it has been a family classic since I was a child. It has been the main course at many, many family celebrations, and even some sorrowful gatherings. Because this blog was started as the Glover Gardens Cookbook in 2015 as a way for me to share family recipes, I’ve been trying to write the gumbo story ever since, but I keep hitting a roux wall.

The problem? Standardizing and documenting the recipe.

Why should that be a problem, you might ask? Well, Dear Reader, it’s a problem because I never, ever make it the same way twice.

Gumbo is a Jazz Combo and “Louisiana Entertains” is a Great Cookbook

To my way of thinking, gumbo is a jazz combo that creates a new song every time you make it. One of my cookbooks, the “official cookbook of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition,” put it this way in the forward:

Good gumbos are like good sunsets: no two are exactly alike, and their delight lies in their variety.

From Louisiana Entertains

Well said! And that’s my challenge. By the way, this is a good cookbook, folks, if you’re interested in Louisiana cuisine and how to cook it. It was featured as a Best Cookbook by Town & Country Magazine, back in the day, and still packs a Louisiana menu-driven wallop.

I Get Started, and Get a Few Pictures…

I’ve actually tried to capture my gumbo recipe for the blog at least a half dozen times over the past few years, and I’ve gotten some nice pictures.

I go into it all committed that this time will be the time I make the gumbo in a repeatable way. I gather the standard ingredients and start chopping, measuring, making roux and taking photos.

The “trinity” (bell peppers, celery and onions) and the all-important spices
A nice, dark roux

A Little Bit of This and a Pinch of That

But somehow, every time, once I get into the gumbo groove, I abandon the standardizing and just start throwing in a little bit of this and a pinch more of that.  You know what I mean: that extra steak we have from last night; the pork tenderloin leftovers from the restaurant on Saturday; the grilled red peppers and onions from Tuesday night’s fajitas, the last two ounces of wine in the bottle. A lot more red pepper because tonight, it doesn’t seem spicy enough for the Grill-Meister.

Layers of Flavors and Layers of Stories Can Only Mean a Series

Just like there are layers and layers of flavor in a good gumbo, our stories have layers and layers, too, the vintage ones and the new memories we’re making. I haven’t been able to hone it all into a concise and easily-digestible post. And so – I’ve decided on a Glover Gardens Gumbo series. The stories, and backstories, and finally, the series will culminate in the recipe.

Hold me to it, will you? I’ve gotta get this recipe down for the next generation. You know who you are.

The Next Chapter

The next chapter: where it all started.

Update: Peruse the Full Series

The recipe has been unveiled, and the Gumbo Series has (finally) come to a close. Here it is, in 5 parts:

© 2019, Glover Gardens

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