Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘World Championship Gumbo Festival and Cookoff’

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

 

This past weekend was the 28th annual World Championship Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia.  Every year during the second weekend of October, Main Street is shut down and groups gather to cook their best gumbo for hundreds or thousands of hungry tasters.

Seventeen years ago when our three girls were young, the family decided to have a booth.  Jeff’s siblings and their families came to town, and together we cooked and served the first ever Simon Family Gumbo.  My daughters have been nostalgic about that event and have talked about having another Simon Family Gumbo booth.  So this was the year.

Jeff and our oldest daughter Maggie were in charge.  For months, Jeff has worked weekends on building a facade of our house, the Big White Castle.  Son-in-law Grant designed a logo using our family Christmas frog as a model and adding a chef’s hat and a superman cape. (The theme for this year’s event was super heroes.)

Katherine and Jeff show the back of our family t-shirts after they ran the 5K Roux Run on Saturday.  Each won second place in their division.  The “medal” was a mini wooden gumbo spoon.

The Simon family castle!

When the weekend arrived, Jeff headed to Cosco for roasted chickens, a dozen of them.  Maggie and Grant arrived with sausage to cook in the cast iron pot to fully season it.  The day Saturday was spent chopping loads of onions, celery, and bell pepper.  What joy to have all hands chopping while everyone visited together!  Jeff and Grant worked on the stock outside on the burner.  I wish I could have captured the smell along with the photos.

 

Saturday night was early to bed because the alarms went off at 4:45 AM on Sunday.  The cooking crew had to get downtown to set up and start the roux.  At 6 AM, the gumbo police announced, “Start your burners,” and the town began to smell of flour and oil slowly cooking into 75+ gravies. If you ask anyone who knows anything about cooking a gumbo, they will tell you the secret is in the roux.  For our team it was touch and go and tag-teaming for about an hour and a half before the roux was the just-right color of chocolate to satisfy head chef, Maggie.

Once the roux was done, it was added to the stock along with vegetables, sausage, and chicken. The stew cooked for a few more hours before a sample was sent to the judges.  Then people arrived with tickets in hand to try out as many samples as their stomachs would hold.  Unfortunately, the crowd was lighter than in previous years due to the extreme heat.  No one really craves gumbo when the temperature climbs over 90 degrees.  The heat really wore us all down, but we powered through.

I celebrate my amazing family.  My girls and their significant others get along so well with each other.  At the end of the weekend, Jeff said, “I think they could do anything.”  This was a huge undertaking, and I was proud of our tasty gumbo even though we didn’t place in the competition.  In our hearts, we knew Simon Family Gumbo was the best!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

A selfie with my friend Sarah as we eat beignets at Festival Acadiens.

A selfie with my friend Sarah as we eat beignets at Festival Acadiens.

This was a weekend to embrace the culture of South Louisiana, along with the crazy heat. I’m not sure if we set records, but the temperatures were blazing while my husband and I introduced friends from Houston to the music and food of our home town. Two festivals complete with Cajun and Zydeco music, gumbo, beignets, and shrimp po-boys. We danced (and ate) all weekend. Our favorite bands are BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and Geno Delafose and the French Rockin Boogie. Family was part of the fun, two daughters, a sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and a niece.

I have been going to these festivals for years, but dancing has only been part of them for the last three and a half. Dancing makes all the difference. I feel like I am part of the music, not just a by-stander listener. I am sore and tired, but the kind of sore and tired when you have done something vigorous, life-giving, like hiking or completing a marathon. The music is still playing in my mind.

Maggie, Katherine, and niece Claire pose at the Gumbo Cookoff.

Maggie, Katherine, and niece Claire pose at the Gumbo Cookoff.

I made a video about dancing this weekend. My husband is the handsome dancer. Be warned: there is one clip where the music comes on suddenly loud.

Read Full Post »