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Gumbo Fight At The Okra Corral

I was shocked — simply shocked! — to read the gumbo recipe Nancy Leson posted recently in the Seattle Times.  It's her husband Mac's traditional Christmas day gumbo. What alarmed me was not what Mac put in; it was what he left out.

Here, take a look.  

Notice anything missing? Like OKRA?!? I couldn't believe it. Gumbo without okra. Tut-tut.

The very word "gumbo" comes from the Bantu word for okra. Or maybe from the Choctaw for file, the dried and powdered sassafras leaves equally necessary for real-deal gumbo.

Well, full disclosure.  In looking up various gumbo recipes I see all kinds of variations. Plus some that say seafood or meat but never both. File or okra but never both. I don't care. I use everything and you should do the same. If Mac wants to leave out the okra, that's his business — misguided, but his.

Calling All Cajun 

And anyone else who cares to weigh in, do. Gumbo without okra: Acceptable variation or the harbinger of the Gumbocalypse?

"Okra is the closest thing to nylon I've ever eaten."

-- Robin Williams

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.