October Means Gumbeaux Festivals Across the State
Most of the records that pop up regarding the history of gumbo indicate it was made by slave cooks in New Orleans as early as 1764 at a time when Louisiana was changing ownership from France to Spain. In light of that historical fact, how jalapenos didn't end up as a gumbo ingredient escapes me.
The original dish was essentially okra and rice in a stew form which was refined in mama's kitchen labs for decades to now include the so-called Louisiana Holy Trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions. By the by, I'm writing this post just before lunch, and I'm getting hungrier and hungrier merely from writing the words gumbo and Holy Trinity. Now I'm thinking of sausage, boiled egg, shrimp and, oh well, let's hurry and get to the festivals so I can go eat.
I like my egg in the gumbo and have been known to go ahead and dump some potato salad in too, on second, third helpings and so on. However, I will always taste your gumbo before I start doctoring it for my own tastes.
The Louisiana Gumbo Festival in Chackbay, The Gumbo Capital of Louisiana is what they call themselves with a stamp of approval from the state legislature. Chackbay is down Highway 21 from Gramercy, more or less. You'll have to look up the directions. I've never been to this fest, but if you're calling yourself the Louisiana Gumbo Capital, you better have some dang good bowls for us to munch on. It's coming right up the weekend of October 11-13. The big brag of the fest is the volunteers who put it on cook up a titanic pot of 500 gallons.
Bridge City Gumbo Festival is for when you want to step up to the Gumbo Capital of the World. Let Chackbay sit on the Louisiana's Best title. Bridge City went for World's Best, so you'd better not miss this one. It takes place on the same weekend, 11-13th with some 60,000 in attendance. Located across the river from Elmwood/Metarie, the festival attracts some of the finest chefs out of New Orleans.
The World's Championship Gumbo Cookoff is October 12-13 as well in New Iberia. You're going to be swimming in the stuff in about two weeks. More than 100 teams compete for the world's best-tasting gumbo. Attendees can sample all the contestants' creations.
There are actually two more big gumbo festivals but they're later in October and early November, and if I told you about them now you'd just forget so I'll make another gumbo post in a week or two about them.
I'm going to lunch. A buffet.
Oh, I'm no chef but if you get to somebody's house for gumbo and there's corn and chopped up weenies in it, make an excuse and promptly leave and never taste anything in that house ever.