Friday, September 16, 2016

Gumbo Shop - New Orleans, LA (A Meal That's to Die For!)

630 Saint Peter St.
New Orleans LA, 70116

            When people, especially those from out of state, think of Louisiana cuisine, all that is mentioned is gumbo, gumbo and more gumbo! I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken with people from other states and they truly think that the only staple we have to live off of is gumbo. Although the concept doesn't sound so bad, we do have a much more in-depth menu to choose from. However, compared to many of the dishes I have been raised on, gumbo is quite tame. Growing up, I loved a good plate of greards (cow intestines), gog (stuffed pig's stomach) and boudin (stuffed pig intestines). Hey now, don't knock it until you try it!
            To give you a crash course on gumbo, as if your life wasn't complete already, we must go back to the 1700's when New Orleans and the rest of the south was beginning to form. Let's face it, for the majority, if you were from the south during this time, as well as for many years to follow, you weren't quite the wealthiest people around. You had to find a way to survive no matter what shortcuts you had to take. With large households and no money, you had to find ways to stretch your food to assure it lasted. Ground chicory root was added to coffee and file', or ground sassafras, was added to stews, all in an attempt to feed more with less. Ever heard of the famous New Orleans' Po'Boys, or Poor Boys?

            The word gumbo actually originates from the African word “kingumbo” meaning vegetable okra. As many slaves were brought in to the area, many of which to prepare meals, they brought their style of cooking along with them. A simple base, or roux, is made by constantly stirring flour and grease until you get a golden brown paste. From there, throw in your water, vegetables and desired meats or seafood. Oh, and don't forget the strongest seasonings that will convert your toilet into the seventh circle of hell!
            Now that I have satiated your taste buds, you may be asking yourself, “If I'm in New Orleans, where is the best place to get some authentic gumbo?” Well, look no further as I will direct you to one of the best places in the city for this satisfying dish, but you may also have yourself a ghostly
Slap yo momma!
encounter as the small establishment, simply known as The Gumbo Shop, has plenty of both!

            The Gumbo Shop is centrally located for locals and tourists alike to indulge in some true Louisiana cuisine. The shop was originally built in 1794 as a small cottage and is one of the oldest standing structures in the area. Records are quite blurry as to what may have stood on the property prior to the Great Fire of New Orleans. Whatever the case may be, the small shop is said to be haunted by one of the fire's many victims. A young woman, said to be badly burned, has been seen wandering through the building at late hours. Her sounds of agony have been heard and presence has been seen. Eyewitnesses claim she is badly disfigured, with chunks of skin literally melting off of her. Ironically, most feel she poses no threat and may perhaps very well be a simple residual haunting, replaying that horrendous day.
            From my research, she has made no direct attempts at interacting with anyone. Her mere presence is seen in the tragic form that she died in. I hate to be crude, but I can only assume the disgust someone may have as they are slurping down a boiled oyster from their seafood gumbo, only to look up and see a woman standing there with a piece of her face falling off. Talk about a ruined appetite, to say the least!
-“Excuse me waiter, but there's a nose in my gumbo!”

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