Sunday, March 25, 2012

Me Oh My Oh! My First USA Gumbo Experience.

We get out of the taxi at the bottom of Austin's South Congress. Just near the big Allens Boot shop and the Continental. There's a little park full of food trailers. One of them is a sausage shop called Texas Wurst. They sell rattlesnake wurst which apparently tastes like chicken. 
Walk to the back of the food lot and there's this. It's beautiful. It's my dream. For the many years since seeing Mickey Rourke's Angel Heart (the thriller where he has crazy voodoo sex with Lisa Bonet), I've yearned for real gumbo. Sure, I've made a lot of it based on the recipes at the brilliant old website, Gumbo Pages, but how do I know I've been making the right stuff? I needed a sign. I needed a gumbo made by a great man like Big Chief Darold Gordon.

Big Chief Darold Gordon of the Young Navaho Mardi Gras Tribe and his family were of the many families who moved from New Orleans to Austin when Hurricane Katrina hit. In an apparently common story, it's been a great move. The place was buzzin'.

Waiting for my order, I admired a man chatting to the girls working the trailer. He could've been the Chief himself or a family friend. Each of his several teeth were made of gold. He wore a cape-like shirt and a few kilos of New Orleans gold bling hung from his neck. I didn't take a photo of him but boy, he was impressive.

Talking 'bout impressive, here's the gumbo. USD$4.49 of peppery soulful soupy goodness. Pepper sausage spiciness in every mouthful. Exactly how I imagined a gumbo to be. Great. Similar in flavour to the gumbo I've made, but what makes this sing, is the sausage base. Slightly smoked. Me oh my oh.

I look back at the trailer. I look back at the stars and stripes. I want to weep. I want to sing. Mates came with Lone Star beer. Nothing can top this. God bless America and all that.

Here's my crawfish po boy. Battered in breadcrumb crayfish meat, tomato, lettuce and Louisiana hot sauce.

Soft bread.

I'm starting to think Americans know fuck all about bread. Too soft. No flavor. No balls. Or is bread just a stark backdrop in a Brecht play? Bread Equals Bread. Simple. Matter of fact.

The workers left the truck to load some stuff into their cars. This is my time to take a shot at the sacred gumbo pot. Look at it. Just look at it. It's been burning there since some time last year. New Orleans, Hanoi, Bangkok and Osaka. The world's great soups all come from big boilers exactly like this one. It's impossible to make perfect soup without one.   

A satisfied local. Texas longhorn pride.

Over the road from the  there's a great second hand book shop called South Congress Books. I get this. Published in the 30s, 1963 printing, it's your CWA ladies recipe collection. Recipes coming soon to a themed dinner near you. That's when I can find few good sized terrapins to stew.

So good bye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh, now I've had gumbo just like on the bayou.

Take it away Hank!

I had a crazy big focaccia in San Francisco. See it and read about it here

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