A heavily seasoned, stew-like dish is in the spotlight on National Gumbo Day which is annually observed on October 12. Originating in southern Louisiana during the 18th century, Gumbo is a dish that typically consists of a strongly flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener and seasoned vegetables. The seasoned vegetables may include celery, bell peppers and onions which are a trio known in Cajun cuisine as the “holy trinity. The dish is commonly served over rice. Gumbo is usually categorized by one of the following types of thickener used:
- The African vegetable okra
- The Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves)
- Roux (the French base made of flour and fat)
Gumbo arose from a West African word for okra, which many believe is how the name and the ingredient also intertwined. Gumbo is thought to have been first documented in 1802 and was listed in various cookbooks in the latter 19th century. It gained widespread popularity in the 1970s when the United States Senate cafeteria added Gumbo to the menu in honor of Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender. Gumbo is the official cuisine of the state of Louisiana. Since 1989, New Iberia, Louisiana has held The World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Enjoy these Gumbo recipes:
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