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It's Past Time!

Frying Pan Revolt, or, The Cook Who Singlehandedly Quelled a Rebellion!

Activist women!

Another gift to us from our Higher Power!

Short insurrections!

Another gift to us from our Higher Power!

GUMMMMMBO!

Another gift to us from our Higher Power!

It all begins at the house of Jean-Baptiste LeMoyne, Governor of Louisiana, Father of New Orleans, Father of Biloxi, and Co-Founder of Mobile. (This man is so busy-- and fascinating --that I am going to feature him in another blog.)

I'll refer to him here as JBLM, to have more space to write about gumbo. GUMMMMM-BO!

Actually...JBLM has a very small part in this blog. The hero of this story is a cook.

The Cook Who Single-handedly Quelled a Rebellion!

OK, a little history first. Native tribes... especially the Choctaw... had a version of the pre-gumbo stew that, for them, was a special-occasion dish. The Choctaw had several small groups living in Louisiana.

In the LATE 18th century, rice--RICE!-- was a luxury for many Cajuns. They served pre-gumbo over (brace yourself) corn grits. Um...okay.

PRIOR to this, according to legend, in 1722, an unnumbered mini-army of female colonists stormed the home of the Louisiana Governor (you guessed it-- our boy JBLM) to protest... because... they couldn't get the ingredients for the precursor-stew to Gumbo.

They marched on the Gov's house, banging loudly on their pots and pans.

[Later in history, the ragtag army of Old Hickory looked down the river and they seen the British come, and there musta been a hunnerd of 'em beatin' on the drum. Don't get confused! THAT event was the Battle of New Orleans, in which the British had 14,450 troops, and 2,459 got killed or wounded, and the army of Andrew Jackson... who had 4,732 troops, of which 333 got killed or wounded. That's a casualty rate of .17 for the Brits and .07 for Jackson's army. And the war was actually over, making this battle superfluous.

[Wikipedia says: The Treaty of Ghent had been signed on December 24, 1814 (but was not ratified by the US Government until February 1815), and hostilities continued without the involved parties knowing about the Treaty, until January 18 by when all of the British forces had retreated, finally putting an end to the Battle of New Orleans.]

Or consider the shortest MODERN war, the Anglo-Zanzibar War, 1896, which lasted 36-45 minutes:

(from Wikipedia) "The ultimatum expired at 09:00 East Africa Time (EAT) on 27 August, by which time the British had gathered three cruisers, two gunboats, 150 marines and sailors, and 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour area...The defenders had several artillery pieces and machine guns, which were set in front of the palace sighted at the British ships. A bombardment opened at 09:02 set the palace on fire and disabled the defending artillery. A small naval action took place, with the British sinking the Zanzibari royal yacht HHS Glasgow and two smaller vessels, and some shots were fired ineffectually at the pro-British Zanzibari troops as they approached the palace. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 09:40....."

The Brits had 1 wounded. The Zanzibarians had 500 killed or wounded.

Well, the Frying Pan Revolt ended even faster. And with NO casualties.

The Gov's cook, Madame Langlois, showed the irate ladies how to start with the precursor stew and then add okra, rice, shrimp, crayfish, and file' powder. And voila!-- GUMBO!

[Now, I hate to be a stickler here, but doesn't this mean that Madame Langlois already knew how to make Gumbo? ]

[File' powder is made from sassafras. Sassafras used to be an ingredient in root beer. Sassafras got into legal trouble in the 1960s and was removed from Creole and Cajun cuisine. I am not making this up.]

[Points to ponder: can you detect ANY commonality between the flavors of Gumbo and root beer? Me either.]

Anyway. JBLM had no hand whatever in the wonderful creation of Gumbo, unless you count yelling at his cook to come and handle the inflamed crowd.

He was too busy becoming the Father of all that real estate to take time to appease the locals.

This is what great men are made of.

And Gumbo? Wikipedia gets the last word:

"Gumbo is a stew that originated in West Africa and today is more known for being a dish in the state of Louisiana in the 18th century. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and what Louisianians call the "Holy Trinity" of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers, and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used, the vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either a word from a Bantu language for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo).

"Several different varieties exist. Creole gumbo generally contains shellfish, tomatoes, and a dark roux, file, or both. Cajun gumbo is generally based on a dark roux and is made with shellfish or fowl. Sausage or ham is often added to gumbos of either variety. After the base is prepared, vegetables are cooked down, and then meat is added. The dish simmers for a minimum of three hours, with shellfish and some spices added near the end."

Sacre' bleu! Let's eat!

~~~~~~~~~~~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_Le_Moyne,_Sieur_de_Bienville

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil%C3%A9_powder

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras#Culinary_uses

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Zanzibar_War

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