My mother taught us girls not to waste anything, and that has carried over even today.   Several of my children brought me huge plates of food on Christmas Day, because I’d decided to stay indoors with the low temperatures lurking outside my door.

This morning I picked the turkey, duck and chicken out and decided I would make a “crazy” gumbo.  I added in the breast of a chicken I’d roasted two days ago.  The meats were all cooked, so I put them in a crock pot and proceeded to make a roux, something I’d not done in a long, long time, because it is still difficult for me to stand for long periods of time.  I used a little cast iron skillet that Butch gave me, which I usually bake my cornbread in.  My roux turned out fine, I added the chopped onions then added it to the meats already cooking in the crock pot.  My gumbo should be done in no time at all.

And all of this reminded me of the first time I made a roux.  Glory, what a disaster!  I was twelve, and Mom had gone to take care of Nan when Shirley was born, leaving me to be the lady of the house.  Okay?  Well, I could make cornbread, I could make biscuits, I could cook rice and I made a mean potato salad, but I’d never made a roux.  Daddy asked me to dress one of the hens in the yard and make a gumbo for Sunday dinner.  No need to panic, girl.  I could dress a chicken and knew how to cut one up.  This was going to be a piece of cake!    

After putting on a pot of rice, I chopped a couple of big onions and set them aside.  I put a big cook spoon of hog lard into the cast iron pot, and when it melted, I stirred in a big cook spoon of flour. Then began the stirring.  I stirred and stirred the stuff, and it didn’t seem to be getting brown like Mom’s roux.  (Remember, I was cooking on a wood-burning stove.)  When I was tired of stirring, I added the chopped onions, and the chicken and then, I immediately added the water and seasoning.  Daddy and my brothers and Grandpa teased me for years about my “white” gumbo.  And Grandpa told me repeatedly that I “was not good to marry yet.”

But they ate it all, probably because that was all I had cooked.

17 January 2004

Copyright © 2004  Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA

Close this window to return to the "On the Bayou..." listings
(Left click on the "X" in upper right-hand corner of this window.)