{snapshots of a meal} | gumbo night

Hands down, I absolutely prefer entertaining at home over going out.  Everyone can let their guard down- and there's no worrying about turning the table, strangers eavesdropping on the conversation or splitting the check. But most importantly, homemade food comes from love; it's about creating and sharing from the heart.  Showing off is totally welcome as well.

Seeing that my job involves putting on dinner parties for others, not only am I delighted to be invited to other people's homes, but WOW when I can be cooked for too!  What a treat!  

{Tradition has is that each person brings their bowl to the stove, to be served the proper proportions of gum to bo by the cook}

{Tradition has is that each person brings their bowl to the stove, to be served the proper proportions of gum to bo by the cook}

An old friend was in town from San Francisco this past weekend whose boyfriend was born and raised in New Orleans.  He was cooking his family's beloved gumbo- even in tow with his inherited cast iron gumbo pan from the 1800's!  As he explained, the recipe is only given once the cook-in-training can make the dish up to family standard. It's an all day process, low and slow, and all about the technique.  

As soon as the front door opened, I got an instant whiff of gumbo heaven.  Dan was relieved to find file (pronounced fee-lay) in the suburbs of Los Angeles, which is a powder made from sassafras- the traditional gumbo thickener.  He explained the process to the rest of us.  Heaven I tell you.

gumbo-night.jpeg

That night was exactly what I needed...a meal in, amongst kindred spirits, incredible food, intelligent conversation, and plenty of wine (duh).  The menu was simple and casual, and perfect.