Filé Gumbo

Gumbo Filé is a thickening agent in creole cooking. You should keep some in your stash of staples. It's similar to how okra thickens stews; but the ground leaves of the sassafras tree adds an extra dimension of earthiness.

Here's Hank Williams and Jumbalaya . . .

Some Louisiana Hot Saucy . . .

The definitive recipe from New Orleans Cajun Justin Wilson . . .




We recently shelled out plenty for some farm fresh free range eggs. The farmers market sales person stressed the eggs tasted great, you could tell the difference. (Click here for their website.) Well, fact is, yes you could tell the difference. But was the upcharge over what you can get on sale at the supermarket worth it?

As they say, de gustibus non disputandum est. So, to each his own. But, for us, the price factor is . . . a factor. Which got Cooky Cat to thinking.

When you examine the question of taste more closely, you start to see lots of details in the mix. Think of your first taste of wine. If you liked it, you probably said, "tastes good". Now that you are a wine aficionado (hopefully not one of those obsessive effete wine sophisticate a-holes) when you have a good wine you notice the dryness/sweetness, fruitiness (what kind,), etcetera. (Cooky cat is still at the, "Umm, I likes that!" level.)

But isn't there more to taste? Something ineffable?

Yes. There is something in the taste of things that feeds the soul. You know what it is like. It's intensely personal, but when you eat something that tastes really pleasing to you, it lifts your spirits, doesn't it?. Let's be clear, we're not talking here about having to have stunt cooking vertical architectural marvel at some 4-star joint by a celebrity chef with ingredients from here there and everywhere. It can be the simplest thing; like a well made plain omelet using superior eggs. It tastes right, true to what an egg should taste like. It pleases, directly and wordlessly.

All edibles have a taste signature, that instantly recognizable taste that you know makes it true to its type. But, not all tomatoes are created equal. Nor just about any other foodstuff and drink. (Licorice is a favorite around here and we have searched the globe for the best. Hint: We can hook you up in Amsterdam. Click to read about a visit there.)

Part of taste which in the modern supermarket distribution system is often lost is the aliveness of a food. Like those free range chicken eggs, they were fresh right from the farm. Or, garden fresh vegetables and fruits. If you haven't gardened yourself, the next best thing is the farmers market. (We once in Arizona went to an orchard to pick peaches at the height of the season. Incredible. The fruit dropped into your hand at the least nudge. As we picked we sampled. Juicy, sweet, with sunshine set right in every bite. So ripe and tender that you had to collect the peaches in flats; in bags they would turn to mush. In two visits we bought nearly 100 pounds. Yes, can you believe it? We did share with friends, but there was a lot of snacking, pie baking, and canning also.)

Produce from your own garden is the very best. Especially so, picked right out of the ground and eaten right there in the field. That's taste. No amount of words will convey that quality of taste.
Spring is coming. Dig yourself up a garden in the back yard, or join a community garden group. It'll feed your soul, in many ways.

Here is a celebration of taste. . .

Today's Question? #6

sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5