Gumbo is a Cajun and Creole stew that came about as a way to use up leftovers — meat, seafood and vegetables. Some versions add rice as well.
Some people say you can combine all three thickeners, others say you would never be allowed to do that in their kitchens. Some feel that it must have both okra and filé, others find that for them using both okra and filé together makes the gumbo too slimy.
Okra is cooked in the gumbo; filé is added after the dish is removed from the heat, or sprinkled on at the table.
Some people will serve their gumbo over rice in a bowl, instead of putting the rice in, making it more like an Etouffee.
Gumbo Z’Herbes is a dish served on Good Friday that uses no meat or seafood.
Literature & Lore
“Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
’cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio.
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gayo,
son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou.”
— Jambalaya. Hank Williams (1923 to 1953)
Gumbo was the African slaves’ word for okra.