This city especially is a melting pot of so many different cultures.
And that is what this show Good Gumbo is all about.
It is about all of these cultures coming together that really expresses who we are.
What up y’all.
I’m Philip Lopez and this is Good Gumbo.
Lolis, I want to thank you again for joining us here in the kitchen at Galatoire's.
You are truly a historian of New Orleans, not only the culture, but the food itself.
We are going right back to the original, the gumbo.
It encompasses so many ingredients, so much soul, so much history so much culture.
Well I tell you, other cities don’t have a signature dish.
New Orleans, we got a couple of them, but gumbo is the king.
Gumbo is the king.
I grew up on the Seafood Gumbo.
And the whole Andouille thing, I learned about a lot later.
It really comes from the Germans in Cajun country.
More so, even in the French or New Orleans.
I think the French, as great as they are, get too much credit for New Orleans food.
And as we are looking back on all of the other people that contributed, we get a better sense of where these things came from.
Because okra comes from Africa.
And okra, that is the first gumbo.
And of course, Cajuns often do a Gumbo where they are using more roux than okra to thicken it.
So people don’t realize that okra was the original thickener to this stew, this soup.
The sliminess that comes out of that is what really thickens it.
But also, on the other side, you got the sassafras.
So the ground Sassafras becomes that filé which is used at the very end, not in the cooking process.
You take that pot off the stove, then you add the sassafras to that, that filé, which thickens the gumbo.
And gives it some flavor as well.
So in this pot right now, this roux has been cooking, Lord have mercy, for three hours at least.
In order to get it to that dark, dark color, you need to slowly cook that roux.
Because it you do it too fast, it’s going to char and burn.
I’ll tell you what, we are going to start by throwing "the trinity" in there.
So gumbo comes in all different varieties, not just the two that we’ve been talking about - Creole and Cajun, right.
One of the best gumbos I have had, and bless her soul, was from Leah Chase.
And the Gumbo Z’Herbes which is actually Green Gumbo.
And she was telling me the story about the Gumbo Z’Herbes where, in her time, you would just go out to the neutral ground and kind of pick all of the greens that were available.
Sometimes they were growing wild, you get mustard greens from this place, so it is literally almost like a vegetable-based gumbo and what thickens it is the green puree.
What happens is that gumbo becomes like the canvas on which you paint different possibilities.
And especially if you think about the question of what proteins you had available, that would change it.
So obviously during duck season you’re more apt to have a duck gumbo.
During the summer, you’re more apt to have the okra, because okra is grown in the summer.
And back in the day before frozen stuff and all this importation, if it wasn’t in the season, you wasn’t gonna get it.
I tell you something, my Mama used to always talk about not making a poor man’s gumbo.
It wasn’t about class, it was about, if you gonna make gumbo, do it when you can do it right.
It’s like wearing your tuxedo with your tennis shoes because you couldn’t afford no good shoes.
Don’t go to the thing with the tux.
So if you gonna make gumbo, take your time, do it right.
This is duck stock right here.
We do it from the roota to the toota on these ducks.
We make sure that we preserve every piece of it.
We make stock out of the bones.
We pick all the meat.
All the innards go to make gravy, or the neck, you know.
It is important that you got to be resourceful.
In this day and age, I think we as a society, we waste too much.
But in the kitchen, all chefs have been trained, drilled into their head, you gotta use every single thing.
So all the ingredients we get, we gotta find at least 3 or 4 uses for it.
This is the okra.
So this okra, obviously not even okra season right now, so when okay season is happening, we take all of that okra in big bulk, we cut it up, and then we freeze it in house because we want to make sure that we preserve the good ingredients.
The closer to home, the more important it is.
A lot of my work has been trying to reconnect New Orleans food to the food of West Africa.
I have been to Senegal, I’ve been to Nigeria, I’ve been to Cote D’Ivoire, all of those places.
And I began to understand the extent to which we assume that if it is not familiar to Americans, and it’s in New Orleans, then it must be French.
It’s like, waaaaait a minute.
Other people are eating and cooking, and the French are not the only ones who can cook well.
If these folks from Senegal are making something good, we're not gonna say, “Well that’s slave food.
We not gonna eat it."
We gonna pull up a chair and we gonna eat it.” In that way, I think our reputation was enhanced by that attitude.
And that’s still our attitude today.
Food is that great bridge.
And if we can enjoy the food, than we can worry about the politics later.
And you know, that was Leah Chase’s whole attitude, you know?
I love my city.
And I think trying to understand it better just enhances our appreciation.
It’s not tearing folks down.
It’s about making certain that the whole range of people involved in it, get their credit Chef, I think you got something wrong with that piece there... Oooohhhh, look at you.
Nothing wrong with it.. Look at you.
I just wanted to check.
You had me worried there for a sec.
I was like, what just happened.
This duck is on fire!
I appreciate it.
Really understanding the history and the cultures and the ingredients, we understand why that this dish, not only is it very historic, but it also continues to have relevance to this day.
And it should always have.
And it’s our job to tell that story.
I think the only thing left now is to try this gumbo, right?
That’s what I’m waiting on… You never want to put the rice in the bowl first.
You always do it second because that is what adds another thickener to that gumbo.
But I tell you what Chef, if you put too much rice it just means you need to add some more gumbo in to balance it out.
Man it smells great!
I love that little green onion at the end, too.
Chef you did it I tell you what, let’s go grab a seat and finish these bowls.
Works for me!
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