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"Making a chocolate flour and oil roux was an interesting learning curve," Collins said. "I enjoy the food culture. To me, it's Nike Zoom Price

The earliest gumbos did not start with the famed phrase "first you make a roux" that many modern day area cooks use. Instead, either the African okra brought to the area by slaves or the Native American Choctaw fil powder derived from sassafras leaves were used to thicken gumbo.

Laudun said he believes that Haitian refugees added tomatoes, now considered a Creole gumbo ingredient.

While cooking her pot of gumbo Tuesday, Brown used chopped bell peppers, onions, celery, green onions and parsley as part of what she called seasoning.

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"Importantly, where does the roux process begin?" asked Laudun. "Down on the Teche, they cook their roux in the pot, then they'll (add) their seasoning vegetables, and that stops the roux from cooking further. Up around Lawtell, people are usually going to brown their chicken and meat first. They've made their roux Nike Kyrie 1 Id

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The most noticeable difference in gumbos by region is the color, according to Laudun. In the southernmost parishes of Acadiana, roux tends to be lighter, close to the color of peanut butter. The northern parishes in Acadiana tend to have darker, coffee colored roux.

Arguably Louisiana's most famous dish, gumbo's origins can be traced back to the late 1700s in south Louisiana.

The method of cooking a gumbo varies by region, too.

Although Louisiana gumbos have been influenced by Cajun, Creole, Choctaw and African ingredients and cooking methods, modern day gumbos tend to be classified by where in Louisiana they are prepared, not the ethnicity of the cook.

Gumbo z'herbes, an old variation of gumbo mainly served during the Catholic season of Lent, typically had a variety of greens, such as collard, mustard, turnip, cabbage, spinach, lettuce and chard. Although rarely seen in restaurants, the dish is still made occasionally in homes.

Almost all gumbos begin with the browning of ingredients, whether it's the vegetables, meat or roux that is browned.

"There's a lot of variation when people are first exploring an idea," Laudun said.

"The fact of the matter is if you have a Cajun and a Creole living in the same area, their gumbo is going to be pretty much the same," Laudun said.

"In parts of southwest Louisiana, you might just have onions," said Laudun. "Along the Bayou Teche, you have onions, garlic, bell peppers and celery all chopped up."

LAFAYETTE, La. and Ronnie Brown, affectionately known as "The Gumbo Lady" at Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park, is cutting up chicken thighs for La Cuisine de Maman's daily gumbo.

It is no coincidence that jarred roux sold at area grocery stores comes from the northern parts of Acadiana. It can all be traced back to the tradition of making the roux separately from the gumbo, Laudun said.

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Ultimately, Laudun says it right: "There are as many types of gumbo as there are people in south Louisiana."

"You've got a pretty amazing amount of flavor in every bite," Laudun said. "An onion is not allowed to be just an onion. The browning is an integral part of it."

"It's all about the place," Laudun said. "There is this idea of the 'holy trinity,' but what that is changes. If you were to ask about the 'holy trinity' or what the older people call 'seasoning' or seasoned vegetables you could hear, 'fil garlic and onion.'"

Today, gumbo varies from one parish to the next in Louisiana. But the oldest versions of gumbo showed even greater variation as people experimented with different local ingredients.

"We have accounts, written accounts, in the early 1800s right around the turn of the century in various parts of Louisiana," said John Laudun, a folklorist and associate English professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. "The word gumbo, people call it a melting pot of Louisiana. The word itself has interesting origins. We know that the African word for okra ("gombo") sounds sort of like gumbo."

Everything from seafood (crab, shrimp, crawfish, oysters) to poultry (chicken, duck, quail) to pork (tasso, andouille) has been and continues to be used in gumbos, often in combination. Although modern day gumbos are often thought of as a fall or winter meal, the oldest gumbos were served year Nike Zoom Dynamic Mens Training Shoes

The most primitive gumbos were not served over rice, either. They were typically served over cornmeal mush, according to Laudun.

Chopped onion, celery and bell pepper are often called the "holy trinity" of gumbo vegetables, but Laudun said that also varies.

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To Caf Vermilionville's executive chef Michael Collins, who is from Ohio, the biggest learning curve to Cajun cooking was learning how to properly make a roux.

the food here is really homey. It's good, stick to your bones, go work in the fields food."


'First you make a roux' not true of early gumbo

round with whatever seasonal ingredients were available.

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Almost every gumbo eater has preferences on how a gumbo is made, whether he or she is arguing over fil or okra, meat or seafood or a light or dark roux.

"I know it's good when I see my bowls come back and they're empty, and I go back and talk to my customers and they say it's the best gumbo they've ever had," Nike Kyrie Basketball Shoes Brown said.

Although most people have only just eaten breakfast, the kitchen is filling with the smoky sweet smells much of Acadiana and associates with a chilly Louisiana day.

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Nike Kyrie Basketball Shoes

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