Last summer, dad strolled by and mentioned that he had okra ready for gumbo. I had told him I would cook some gumbo for him. Anyway, as he strolled back through my room, he mentioned that I needed to make hot sauce, since we had so many peppers.
I made hot sauce before lunch, and after lunch, I tried gumbo.
I used our smallest cast iron skillet. It's about 10 inches, with so much baked onto the sides that it looks like my face in high school. Bumps everywhere!
After getting all the ingredients together, I prepared to make my roux. "Time to start bouncing on the bed!" I announced. (only my brother Rodney and my uncle Donn will get that. And anyone else who has attended the New Orleans Cooking School. If you ever get a chance to visit N'awlins, take the class and say hello to Kevin!)
So I started my roux. As I started stiring the flour and oil, I started wondering why I ever let Rodney make the roux when we make gumbo together. I quickly learned that I make a better gumbo sous chef than a gumbo chef.
As the roux assumed the proper color, all hell broke loose. The pimply outsides of the skillet caught fire!
As I tried to put the outside fire out, I noticed the roux was beginning to burn! Oh! Shit!
With one hand I dumped the veggies into the soup pot, and quickly dumped the rapidly burning roux on top. Then, the inside of the skillet caught on fire. Now the smoke alarm was demanding my attention.
I put the skillet in the sink and splashed water around it, then put the water in it. Congratulating myself for my quick thinking, I stirred my gumbo, and noticed that the brown roux was STILL COOKING itself so I stirred frantically, then, prematurely dumped the stock into the pot, and wisked like my life depended on it.
I spent the next hour scooping out the big black nuggets of charred flour.
Next time gumbo is made in this house, I'm gonna be the sous chef.
When it came time to serve, Dad looked disappointed. He wanted what his mother called Okra Gumbo, Tomatoes and Okra. Even though I don't like okra, I've gotten pretty good at fixing this.