I need your help folks. I supplicate myself to your experience and wisdom, particularly our friends from Lousiana. I seek your feedback for help dealing with a failure, of imagination, of technique, of logistics, I know not what else.
Here’s my confession:
I don’t know what I did with the gumbo recipe but I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. It was on a stained index card that I’d kept for 20 years, through moves between residences, crosscountry from south to east and back again. That’s really where things first went off the rails, was losing the recipe. It was my dad’s recipe and his gumbo was always reliably soul-startingly good. Yes, my emotional memory of meals past may distort a bit, but this I know: it was damn fine gumbo, every one of the hundreds of times I ate it over the years. Every single f*cking time. Dark, thick, spicy and smoky but not to the extent that the taste of the shrimp and crabmeat were overpowered.
I consider myself a good cook with a good intuition, so, other than pastry and baking, I usually succeed at what I try. I’ve been cooking a lot lately, trying to train myself to make food with fresh ingredients, different new things every week, not just purchase crap on the fly or rely on the couple of staple quick meals I can throw together with my eyes closed. I joined the food coop and have been reveling in fresh local produce, meat, and eggs. So, I had a handsome fresh mess of okra, some tomatoes, onions, and a lovely plump free-range chicken. Gumbo just entered my mind and I couldn’t shake it. I blame that okra.