The Bottom Line: Quick facts about gumbo!
The Full Story:
- Gumbo is a complex and delicious stew or thick soup that originated in southern Louisiana.
- Gumbo is usually called a Cajun dish, but there are both Cajun and Creole varieties. Cajun refers to a group of people of French descent who migrated to Louisiana in the 18th century after they were expelled from the Northeast by the British. The term Creole can refer to both people of mixed descent and those of French or Spanish descent born in the New World.
- The different types of gumbo are best categorized by the type of thickener used to create the dish. Filé powder is one type of thickener that is made from dried and ground sassafras leaves. Sassafras and filé powder had been used by Native Americans for centuries before European immigrants arrived. The okra plant is another thickener used in gumbo. Okra was introduced to the Southern U.S. from Africa, which accounts for the African component of gumbo. Okras thickened with filé and/or gumbo are considered to be Creole.
- The third type of thickener is roux. In French cooking, a roux is made from cooking fat and flour together to form a sort of gravy. This mode of cooking gumbo was introduced by the Cajuns who were displaced from the Northeast to Louisiana.
The Bottom Line: October 12th is Old Farmers Day!
The Full Story:
October 12th is Old Farmers Day! This celebration honors the hard labor of farmers throughout American history. Early American culture was heavily a farming culture. Early settlers cleared fields and pristine woods, to farm the rich land. They brought seeds and farming methods with them. They found new seeds, and learned new methods along the way. Many of those new farming methods came from Native Americans, who were already farming the land. Most notably, was the concept of hilling, or mounding soil.
The month of October is a very appropriate month to celebrate and honor farmers. At this time, the harvest is largely complete. It means that farmers can take a break from their labors, to enjoy this celebration.
A farmers' work is long and hard. It certainly doesn't make a person rich. It has its good years, and its bad ones. There is no guarantee of a good crop. Weather, pests, and disease problems often prove disastrous. But, through it all, farmers have persevered. And, their ceaseless hard work sets an example for all.
As Americans, we tip (or SHOULD tip) our hats to all farmers for their contributions to American culture, values, society, and the economy. It’s pretty simple folks – just remember: “No farms – no food.” And for the guys: “No farms – no farm girls!”