Today’s recipe “Southern Gumbo” is adapted from an old-time cookbook written in 1935. The book is called The Southern Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes.
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2 tablespoons Butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cups tomatoes
2 cups okra, cut fine
1 cup chopped green peppers
2 cups water
1 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste
(In a Large Pot) Fry the onions in the butter until brown; Add (the remaining ingredients)vegetables, hot water, and seasonings. Cook slowly until quite thick. (It may take an hour or 2).
I actually ended up making this recipe the other day, with slight modifications. I added Thai green chilly peppers as well as garnished with Cilantro. I also added some Lobster (so it was kind of Lobster Bisque’-y). Turned out delish. I was worried about Okra being too slimey. but it was perfect! Now I get it, what the hype s all about.
Here is the beautiful introduction at the beginning of the book.
People think of the Southland as the place where the sun shines brighter, the breezes are gentler, the birds sing sweeter and the flowers are fairer. We, who have edited this cook book, which we hope you will find helpful, think of the Southland as the hearthstone of superb cooking.
To attempt a Southern Cook Book in one small pamphlet was an ambitious undertaking. There were many fine recipes that should have been including but lack of space would
not permit. It became the editors’ problem to select as many, as varied, and as useful a collection of recipes as it was possible to include in these few pages. Many fine dishes had to be omitted to make way for better ones.
The natural, geographic and climatic advantages of the different sections of the sunny South have played an important part in Dixie cookery. The fertile fields, plentiful fruit trees, and waterways have each contributed bountifully. Every part of the Southland is individual and distinctive in its cookery. The “Creole Dish” of New Orleans has nothing to do with racial origin but rather indicates the use of red and green peppers, onions, and garlic. Oranges, grapefruit, and avocados play an important part in Florida cookery.
Maryland is famous for its fried chicken and its delicious seafood recipes. One thinks of Virginia, its hot bread, and its sugar-cured hams. Kentucky is known for its corn “likker” and its flannel cakes. Only one thing is universally true: Every corner of the South is famous for its fine cookery.
As you glance through this book you will find many delicious dishes . . . many excellent combinations. You will find here the carefully-guarded secrets of real Southern cooking, palatable and tempting to the eye. You will find accurate, tried, and tested recipes each one a gastronomical delight.
The very name “Southern Cookery” seems to conjure up the vision of the old mammy, head tied with a red bandanna, a jovial, stoutish, wholesome personage … a wizard in the art of creating a savory, appetizing dishes from plain everyday ingredients. But it should be remembered that not all the good cooks of the Southland were colored mammies … or folks who lived on plantations. Southern city folks are also famous for their hospitality, their flair for entertaining, and the magnificence of their palate-tickling culinary efforts.
Most of the recipes in this book is gathering from this latter source, though they undoubtedly in many cases owe their origin to the colored mammies who rarely bothered to write down their recipes . . . for they were good cooks who most often could neither read nor write . . . didn’t have to … you just put them in front of a stove with the fixings and they created something grand . . . even if they couldn’t always explain to you just how.
All your life you have heard of the traditionally famous dishes of the Southland. No names appear so frequently on hotel menus as Dixie names. No cooking seems more famous or synonymous with quality and deliciousness than Southern cooking. You will find here, published for the first time in book form, we believe, the truly amazing recipe for “Kentucky Burgoo”, and the celebrated recipe for “Pot Likker”, which is a familiar dish in almost, every part of the South, particularly in the homes of the poor white and the negro. We believe this book to contain a remarkable crosssection of fine recipes and we hope you will find it a valuable aid in your culinary efforts.
Hope you enjoyed the recipe as well as the Introduction. Do let me know if you ever get around to cooking this Southern Gumbo soup. Enjoy!
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No joke today. But a verse from the book.
When I went to see Mis’ Liza Jane
She was standin’ in the door
With shoes and stockings in her hands
And feet all over the floor.
~ From The Southern Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes
More about Ms Liza Jane here in Appalachian History
Jerry Seinfeld Experiment: Don’t break the chain. Post #26.